Robert Blake finally got his bail hearing. But he didn't get the bail.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge today declined to spring the Baretta star from the jail he's been held in since his April 18 arrest for the alleged killing of wife Bonny Lee Bakley.
Blake, who was present (and looking "sad," per wire reports) at the hearing, offered to post $1 million to secure his freedom while awaiting trial on charges he shot Bakley to death in May 2001 outside a Studio City, California, restaurant.
But Judge Lloyd Nash denied the request, saying he hadn't heard any evidence--yet--that convinced him Blake was worthy of bail.
"At this point in time, I can make the finding that there is proof of guilt and the presumption is great--for bail purposes only," Nash said.
The judge added that he was not saying he believed Blake was guilty. But until the preliminary hearing, now scheduled for December 11 (after numerous delays and postponements), Nash said he couldn't make a judgment on bail.
That has been Nash's line all along. He never even wanted to hold today's bail hearing, doing so only after California's state supreme court ordered him to do so, following intense lobbying by the Blake camp.
Prosecutors, not surprisingly, were keen on the Nash's decision. "We feel the judge made the proper ruling," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
There was no immediate reaction to the denied bail request by Blake or his attorney, Harland Braun. A call to Braun's office was not returned.
In court today, Braun argued that there was no reason Blake shouldn't be free until his trial starts.
"Robert Blake is not going to go anywhere," Braun said. "He hardly could go anywhere without being followed by helicopters from the press."
Blake has pleaded innocent to all charges, including the accusation that he killed Bakley while "lying in wait." That last count is a special-circumstance charge--the one that, up until today, had thwarted his attempts for a bail hearing.
That charge also could have meant Blake was staring down the death penalty, if convicted. But prosecutors say they won't seek the death penalty against the onetime Emmy winner. Instead, Blake will face life in prison if found guilty.
Blake's bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, is also implicated in the case, charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Like Blake, he has pleaded innocent. Unlike Blake, he is free on $1 million bail--as posted by Blake.
In an interview published in today's Washington Post, Blake talks about his new life behind bars.
"This is a piece of cake compared to where I've been in my life," the now-white-haired actor says in the paper.
But apparently in the next breath, the 69-year-old adds: "It's hard here. Terrible. This place does stuff to you...They take your dignity here. Your pride, your manhood."
Blake says his dream is to be with his and Bakley's daughter, Rose, now 2, and, eventually, to "die in the sunshine."
"My dream since I was a little boy was to die in the sunshine," Blake tells the Post. "I want to get off my Harley and eat a sandwich, sit under a tree and leave."