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On The Scene

Charles Feldman: Blake case built meticulously

CNN Correspondent Charles Feldman
CNN Correspondent Charles Feldman  

(CNN) -- Thursday evening authorities arrested actor Robert Blake, who is a suspect in the killing of his wife, Bonny Bakley, last year. CNN Correspondent Charles Feldman talked about the arrest with CNN talk show host Larry King. Blake will be arraigned on Monday in Van Nuys, California.

KING: Of the arrest. Do they have to give a reason? They have to list: here's what happened.

FELDMAN: My understanding -- and this is just sort of background information -- is that the theory of this case is that Mr. Blake tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife, was apparently unsuccessful in that attempt. And it is the theory of the police that he ended up pulling the trigger himself and killing his wife.

There's another individual involved in this who is either going to be arrested or is arrested as we speak. And this is somebody who I'm told was not actually in Los Angeles on the night of the murder, but in some fashion played a role in this whole affair. But it is the theory that Mr. Blake was the one who actually pulled the trigger.

KING: What took so long between the occurrence and now to gather this information?


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FELDMAN: Well, I think a lot of the information was gathered fairly early on. But ... as you know, Larry, most murder cases are actually circumstantial. You very rarely, except in movies, have an eyewitness to a homicide. And when you have a circumstantial case, you really have to go about very meticulously trying to build it so that when you eventually go in before a jury, you can convince them beyond a reasonable doubt that the case that you are laying out is, in fact, what happened. And the stakes in a murder case are as high as you could get.

One of the reasons it took this long, frankly, is that nobody wanted to make a mistake. You know, the police wanted to be sure that they had the man or the men that they think are involved, keeping in mind, of course, that Mr. Blake does enjoy the protection of being considered innocent until proven otherwise.

KING: I got you.

FELDMAN: The police, of course, have their theory, and the police's theory had to be gathered very carefully. They had to convince the district attorney because in high-profile cases, the police will not make a move without the D.A. saying, yes, you know, you got it and we'll back you on this.

KING: This did occur May 4. So it is almost a year ago. By the way, we have a tape we're going to show you through our affiliate KABC, another affiliate in Los Angeles, of the bodyguard apparently being arrested. And if they'll throw that up now, we'll look at that.

Apparently the bodyguard we see on the ground there. And this is, as we said, through KABC. And this is happening live now. Charles, can you see this, too?

FELDMAN: Yes, I can, Larry. Yes.

KING: We're showing a tape. The graphic says live, but we're showing you tape of the live scene. And there is the bodyguard. Now, his connection, Charles, as we understand it, is what? The police think he did what?

FELDMAN: It's a little bit murky. But it is not believed, as I understand it, that he was physically in Los Angeles on the night of the murder, but in some fashion had something to do with what amounts to a conspiracy to commit murder. It is unclear in my mind whether that means he was the one that tried to procure a hitman or whether he in some way aided or abetted Mr. Blake. That won't come out until either a news conference, which I presume will be happening shortly, that the police will give. And certainly will come out, I believe, at the arraignment which is now scheduled for Monday, I believe, in Van Nuys.

KING: Charles, you know the L.A. area. You know the coverage. You know the police work. What appears to be taking so long to arrest someone?

FELDMAN: Well, you mean in terms of why it took so many months to make this arrest?

KING: No, no, no. This scene now. I mean, we've been seeing this scene -- we see it on television. Usually they go in and say, here are your rights, come into the car.

FELDMAN: Right. On TV, right, Columbo moves in and makes the arrest and everybody -- it is all concluded before the commercial break. But in reality, what happens is it's a long process. They have to give the defendant his or her Miranda rights. They have to make him aware that they're entitled to an attorney, all those things that you, I'm sure, remember from countless detective and crime shows. All that has to be done.

And then there's the consideration, as I mentioned before, there's a child here. Mr. Blake lives with that 3-year-old daughter that he had with his dead wife - -- Rosie. And, you know, the cops are very aware of that. It doesn't take much to traumatize a 3-year-old child and they have to be very careful that they don't do that.

So what's going on inside the house, of course, is impossible for me to say. But I'm sure that that's one of the very important considerations that's making this seem as if it's happening in slow time, but that really is kind of the way it does happen.




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