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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Brando Jr 'murder link' dismissed
Robert Blake
Robert Blake is due to stand trial in November
A judge has ruled there is no evidence linking Marlon Brando's son with the murder of actor Robert Blake's wife.

Mr Blake, 71, star of 1970s US TV drama Baretta, is due to stand trial for the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley in May 2001.

Judge Darlene Schempp said Mr Blake's lawyer could not present his theory that others, including Christian Brando, conspired to kill Ms Bakley.

Mr Blake has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Bakley, 44. His trial is scheduled for November.

Telephone call

Judge Schempp said: "I've found there was no link, direct or circumstantial, with Mr Brando. It's pure speculation."

She had already ruled out a tape recording of a telephone call between Mr Brando and Ms Bakley in which he told her she was lucky someone did not put a bullet through her head.

During the conversation, Mr Brando allegedly confronted her about a tabloid article that named Mr Blake as the father of a child that Ms Bakley had already said was Mr Brando's.

Judge Schempp also said Mr Blake's lawyer, M Gerald Schwartzbach, will be blocked from asking witness Ronald Hambleton whether he conspired to kill Bakley on behalf of Christian Brando.

The judge acted after prosecutor Shellie Samuels argued the defence had presented no evidence to support its theory that Mr Hambleton, a former stuntman, conspired with an assortment of characters.

The screening of prospective jurors is due to start on Monday with jury selection starting on 15 November.

The trial is expected to last four months.


SEE ALSO:
Judge rules over Blake 'evidence'
15 Oct 04  |  Entertainment
Blake's lawyers implicate Brando
05 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Blake lawyer 'has new evidence'
18 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
Actor's murder trial is postponed
17 Jul 04  |  Entertainment
Actor Blake pleads innocent
28 Mar 03  |  Entertainment



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