Just who was Bonny Lee Bakley, the wife of actor Robert Blake who was shot to death outside a California restaurant where the two had just eaten dinner?
As Los Angeles Police Department investigators try to identify a suspect in the shooting, the picture of the victim becomes more and more complex.
Fascination with the crime has been a boon to Vitello's Italian Restaurant in Studio City, where Blake, 67, and Bakley, 45, ate just before she was killed. The Associated Press reported that Vitello's manager Steve Restivo said business is up 25 percent since the killing.
Souvenir-hungry customers have even been stealing menus, he said.
And former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman said today on Good Morning America that from what he knew, the evidence did not indicate a professional hit. He said the weapon used and reports that she was shot once in the shoulder and once in the head did not indicate the killing was carried out by someone who wanted to be sure she was dead.
Taking a Friend’s Name
In the latest revelation about the woman, dozens of letters from around the country were found in a mail box Bakley apparently rented under an assumed name.
Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, has described Bakley as a lifelong grifter who said she needed to prey on lonely men to get back at the father who abused her.
When employees at Postal and Packing Emporium in Los Angeles opened Box 617 on Wednesday, they found about two dozen letters all addressed to Bakley. The letters were from all over the country, from as close as Portland, Ore., and as far away as New Jersey.
According to store manager Ernesto Barragan, Bakley used a fake identification card from New Jersey to open the mailbox. Bakley's picture was on the ID, but the name was Christina Scheier, Barragan said.
"She gave me two forms of ID, two proper forms of ID for the Christina Scheier," Barragan said. "But then she never brought in the two forms of ID for Miss Bonny Lee Bakley."
Scheier is a childhood friend of Bakley's who told reporters that she didn't know Bakley was using her name. She also said Bakley had dozens of fake IDs from all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Many Marriages; Any Divorces?
The discovery of the letters and Bakley's new aliases did not surprise Braun, who has been looking into allegations she was married numerous times.
"She seems to be marrying a lot of people and we're trying to determine whether she ever divorced them," Braun said. "I've heard estimates all over the board, but I mean obviously multiple husbands, but we need to verify that, and she has so many names, we have at least 20 names, so how do we check all those names all over the country?"
On Good Morning America, Fuhrman, who has written books on several high-profile murder investigations following his resignation from the LAPD in the wake of the O.J. Simpson case, said if it is true that a light, small-caliber pistol was the weapon used, he would be surprised if the killing was done by a professional.
"This would be a weapon that would be very undesirable for anyone that wanted to make sure someone was dead," Fuhrman said.
Police sources told ABCNEWS that Bakley was shot once in the shoulder and once in the head, which Fuhrman also said indicate the shooting was not a hit.
"When you hear all the rhetoric about a contract killer, hiring somebody, this type of thing, it's kind of silly," he said. "Who shoots anybody in this world trying to kill them in the shoulder intentionally, especially a professional or somebody that's planning out something?
"It would almost seem, depending on which shoulder, it would almost seem like she was falling away from a visible threat when the gun came out. She was shrugging away from it or leaning away from it. You can kind of imagine the circumstance."
Police have yet to identify a suspect in the case and Braun said he has struggled with the LAPD to get detectives to look at anyone other than Blake. He justified the negative portrait he has painted of Bakley in the media as a way to drive police to look into her past for a possible killer.
"They're only investigating Robert Blake," he said. "They're not investigating any other possibility."
Blake married Bakley four months ago after DNA tests proved he was the father of her 11-month-old baby daughter.
Within days of the killing, Braun released tapes of Bakley's phone conversations and correspondence that he said showed numerous men she had defrauded who could have had a motive for killing her.