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Both Sides Rest in Blake Murder Case

February 26, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The prosecution and defense both rested their cases in the Robert Blake murder trial, with the prosecution calling a writer for a tabloid newspaper as its last rebuttal witness.

``All sides have rested and the case is now concluded,″ Judge Darlene Schempp told the jury Friday.

Closing arguments were scheduled for Wednesday.

Blake, 71, is accused of shooting wife Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, to death in May 2001, as she sat in his car parked near a restaurant where they had dined. Blake could face life in prison if convicted.

In two months of testimony, the prosecution presented a largely circumstantial case, maintaining that Blake solicited two elderly stuntmen to kill his wife but gave up and did it himself when they refused. The defense attacked both key witnesses as longtime drug abusers who suffered hallucinations and paranoia and could not be trusted.

The prosecution called a writer for the National Enquirer on Friday to vouch for the authenticity of an article he wrote quoting Cole McLarty, the son of one of the stuntman, about the case.

The prosecutor said that in the story, Cole McLarty stated that Blake had talked of Bakley and ``he didn’t like Bonny, didn’t approve of her lifestyle and wanted her out of the way.″

The story also said Gary McLarty told his son that ``he almost threw up when he heard Bonny Bakley was dead″ and he thought Blake was behind it.

The Enquirer writer, Alan Smith, said all comments attributed to Cole McLarty about his father’s contact with Blake regarding Bakley were correct.

Cole McLarty has denied saying many of the comments attributed to him in the story, for which he was paid $8,000.

The defense established on cross-examination of Smith that the story never said Blake asked Gary McLarty to kill Bakley.

Cole McLarty had testified for the defense, saying that when his father told him of his discussions with Blake it was about getting paid to beat up someone and there was no mention of killing Bakley.

The judge said closing arguments will begin Wednesday and the case will be sent to the jury Friday. The extended recess is needed because of jurors’ medical appointments.

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