As Robert Blake awaits trial on charges of murdering his wife of six months, Bonny Lee Bakley, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner has granted custody of Blake and Bakley’s daughter, Rosie, to the toddler’s half-sister, Delinah Blake, the 35-year-old daughter of Blake’s first marriage. The Thursday ruling came over the objection of the murder victim’s sister, Margerry Bakley, that her niece will now be living in the same house as Earle Caldwell, the Blake handyman charged as a co-conspirator in the crime, the New York Post reports.
”The man charged with conspiring to kill a child’s mother shouldn’t be allowed to be with that child,” said Bakley, who has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against both the accused men. ”Earle is getting to know her better than [I am].” But Blake’s lawyer, Harland Braun, told the Post that Caldwell only stays at Delinah Blake’s house occasionally, as he’s doing construction work there. ”He stays over if it’s convenient, if something needs to be done there,” Braun said. ”He’s not a member of the family. He’s not living there.”
Caldwell is charged with conspiring with Blake, who’s accused of shooting his wife outside a restaurant near their Studio City home in May 2001. While Blake has remained jailed without bail since his arrest in April, Caldwell is free on bail, which the ”Baretta” star paid for, along with Caldwell’s legal expenses. Two-year-old Rosie, whose mother Blake married only after a paternity test proved she was his child, has been living in Los Angeles with Delinah, a psychologist, since Blake’s arrest. Thursday’s ruling means that if the 68-year-old actor is granted bail and released, he’ll have to reapply for custody of Rosie. His next court date is Aug. 27.