A Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner on Thursday granted Blake's adult daughter, Delinah, custody of her half-sister, Rosie--the child Blake had with Bonny Lee Bakley, the woman he's accused of murdering.
Delinah, a 35-year-old psychologist, has been tending to Rosie full-time since Robert Blake was arrested April 18. In filing for full custody, she said in court papers that she has really been taking care of Rosie since the girl was three months old, essentially acting as her mother.
She had been granted temporary custody of the now two-year-old toddler in May.
While the Bakley family didn't object to Delinah Blake's guardianship, Bonny's sister, Margerry, had asked Commissioner H. Ronald Hauptman to delay his ruling. Hauptman, however, declined to put off his decision.
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> "I never had a problem with Delinah retaining custody," Bakley explained to reporters outside the courthouse. "I just wanted to keep the door open to visitation.
"I'd like to be part of Rosie's life," Bakley continued. "She's the only extension of my sister we'll ever have."
Although no formal visitation rules were set by the court in Thursday's ruling, Bakley says she has broached the topic with Delinah Blake. (Bakley says she last saw Rosie in April at the home of Robert Blake's lawyer.)
Bakley also said she would challenge the custody arrangement if Robert Blake managed to secure his bail.
"If Mr. Blake gets out, which I doubt, I don't want him near my niece," said Bakley.
The 68-year-old actor, whose most recent bid for bail was rejected just days ago by a California appeals court, remains locked up at Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Blake, who has pleaded innocent to the murder rap, faces a sentence of life imprisonment without parole if convicted.
Rosie is central to the murder case. She was born in June 2000, but it was only after Robert Blake's paternity was confirmed via a DNA test that the 68-year-old former Baretta star agreed to marry Bakley that November. Six months later, Bakley was shot dead near a restaurant in Studio City, California, and authorities say Blake pulled the trigger after failing to hire a hit man. Blake's bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, has been charged as a coconspirator.
Rosie is also listed as one of the defendants in the wrongful-death lawsuit pending against Robert Blake. Bakley's family brought the suit on behalf of the murdered woman's four children from various relationships. That case will likely be heard after Blake's murder trial.
Blake's next court appearance is slated for August 27, when a judge will set a preliminary hearing date.
Delinah is one of two adult children Blake had with his first wife, Sondra. The ex-couple, who divorced in 1983 after nearly 20 years of marriage, also have a son, an actor named Noah Blake.