The detective supervising the Robert Blake murder case admitted Wednesday (02FEB05) he didn't test the restaurant booth where the actor claimed to have left his gun.

Detective RONALD ITO testified at the Van Nuys, California courthouse, it didn't occur to him to order a gunshot residue examination of the booth, after the BARETTA star claimed he had left the gun during his last meal with wife BONNY LEE BAKLEY.

Blake stands accused of killing his wife outside Vitello's restaurant in Studio City, California, in May 2001.

Defence attorney M GERALD SCHWARTZBACH asked Ito, "You didn't make the test in spite of information you had about where Blake said he had left the gun?" to which Ito replied, "I did not."

Blake claims he carried the weapon for protection and after realising he had left it in the booth, left Bakley in their car outside and went to retrieve it alone. Upon his return to the vehicle, Blake claims he found Bakley had been shot.

Schwartzbach went on to show a video of Blake's home being searched by police officers. Ito identified two lockers containing letters from Bakley's "customers" in a mail order sex scam.

After Schwartzbach noted the correspondence wasn't taken in evidence, he said, "Isn't it true the things you seized were only the things you believed would incriminate Mr Blake?"

Ito replied, "I had to decide what was pertinent and what was not."

Ito claims his team read the letters at the house and despite investigating five or six "unhappy customers", they were all cleared of any links to Bakley's murder.

The trial continues.

03/02/2005 14:08