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Blake's lawyers offer audio tapes of dead wife

Actor Robert Blake leaves home on May 5  

In this story:

Brando's son mentioned

Legal troubles

Blake investigated?


LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles police refused to comment Monday on reports that the gun used to kill the 44-year-old wife of actor Robert Blake had been found.

"We are not going to confirm or deny the ABC report about a gun being found," said spokesman John Pasquariello. "We are not going to comment on rumor and innuendo. And even if we had the gun we wouldn't talk about it now ... We're not going to try this in the media."

CNN's Charles Feldman reports on audio recordings made by Bonny Lee Bakley (May 12)

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Meanwhile, as the investigation into Bonny Lee Bakley's death continued, CNN obtained a copy of a series of tape recordings that Blake's lawyers turned over as evidence to Los Angeles police. Blake and his attorney say the recordings are of Bakley's telephone conversations and that they were recorded by her.

The conversations were allegedly recorded during 2000 -- before Bakley married Blake in November, and while paternity of their infant daughter was still being clinically established.

Blake's lawyers allowed CNN to make complete copies of the recordings after the tapes were handed over to police as evidence. Blake himself told CNN the voice on the tape was Bakley's.

On the tapes, Bakley is allegedly heard talking about her difficult upbringing, her relationship with Blake and her previous legal troubles.

Brando's son mentioned

The tapes were discovered by Blake's investigative team in the small guest house where Blake's late wife resided next to her husband's home, CNN was told.

Tests determined that Blake was the father of Bakley's child, but when Bakley gave birth, she named her daughter after actor Christian Brando, Marlon Brando's son. Bakley had told friends that Christian Brando was the father, even though she was having an affair with Blake. (CNN has not established that Bakley knew the younger Brando.)

On the tapes, Bakley allegedly says she knew the younger Brando well and weighed her relationship with him against her relationship with Blake.

"I met Blake and then I thought, well, I kind of wanted him, but I kind of didn't, because he wasn't up to par with the looks," Bakley purportedly says. "... And I thought I was already in love with Christian."

Then, Bakley says, she fell for Blake.

"He'd come on really mushy and sweet, like he's really falling for me," she allegedly says on the tapes. "I was backing off then, and then all of a sudden I didn't know what happened. But I fell for him and then he started backing off and then I got those awful feelings. You know, that pain, you know. It's like withdrawal or something, like really sad, lonely and really depressed."

Legal troubles

The conversations also include talks about Bakley's various legal problems -- including a 1997 Little Rock, Arkansas, case in which she was charged with possessing false identification documents with intent to use them.

Paramedics were unable to revive Bonnie Bakley after she was shot May 4  

"Yeah, I know I got three years' probation just for having different IDs ... and it wasn't even like I was really using them for anything too illegal either. ... I mean, it's my business and if I want to fool guys in the mail and say that I'm someone else, what's the difference?"

Bakley also allegedly admits that her troubled past made her crave the spotlight.

"I was the kid that everybody hated in school because I was poor and I couldn't dress good. ... Everybody always made fun of me because I was a real loner type. So you grow up saying 'I'll fix them. I'll show them. I'll be a movie star.' And it was too hard because I was always falling for somebody. And I figured, why not fall for movie stars instead of becoming one?"

Blake investigated?

Bakley was shot May 4, while sitting in a car outside Vitello's Restaurant in Los Angeles, where she and Blake had eaten dinner.

Blake, who gained fame as the star of the 1970s TV show "Baretta," has said he was inside the restaurant retrieving a gun at the time of the shooting.

LAPD spokesman Don Hartwell has said Blake, 67, had been interviewed "as a witness to the crime."

Blake has not been named a suspect in his wife's killing. His lawyers, however, say the tapes bolster Blake's claim that someone or something from his wife's past is responsible for her death. That's why they handed over the tapes to investigators, they say.

Shortly after Bakley's murder, a former husband disputed the suggestion that someone from her past was responsible for her death.

"Her past had nothing to do with this," said Paul Gawron, who divorced Bakley in the early 1980s and with whom he had three children. He now lives in her home in Memphis, Tennessee, and said he had maintained a close relationship with her and was helping her with her mail-order business.

"She was a good woman that made bad choices," said Gawron.

Bakley's and Blake's 11-month-old daughter is being cared for by Blake's relatives.

Lawyer: Investigation will clear Blake of wife's killing
May 10, 2001
Police again search Robert Blake's home
May 10, 2001
Police seek clues in death of Robert Blake's wife
May 8, 2001
Blake hires private investigator to solve wife's killing
May 7, 2001
Shooting of actor Blake's wife treated as homicide
May 6, 2001
Actor Blake hires attorney in wake of wife's death
May 5, 2001

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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