The Murder Weapon
Detectives Pinner and Eguchi
When court resumed on Monday, the 10th, jurors heard from Martin Pinner, a homicide detective at the North Hollywood station who administered a gunshot residue (GSR) test to Blake, and Detective Steven Eguchi, one of the investigators who worked the case.
Eguchi, on the stand the entire morning, described the search for the murder weapon, a vintage-WWII Walther handgun which was ultimately found among the contents of a construction site dumpster that sat immediately in front of the parking space Blake had taken on the night of the murder.
Detective Eguchi told the court that he climbed on top of the dumpster looking for evidence, and then ordered it moved to a landfill. Once, there, the contents were emptied onto the ground and searched, Eguchi testified. Ultimately, the weapon was found covered in oil and debris. It yielded neither fingerprints nor DNA because of its condition.
During cross-examination, Blake attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach suggested the way the dumpster was searched made it impossible for criminalists to obtain fingerprints or other trace evidence from the trash container itself and from the gun.
For his part, Detective Pinner (in photo, lower left) acknowledged that he performed a gunshot-residue on the defendant, even though LAPD guidelines state the test is not to be done on anyone carrying a firearm. The reason is because particles of residue can transfer from the gun if it's been fired at any time prior to the time in question.
Pinner's testimony included points important to both the defense and prosecution. He said that in his presence, Blake had talked to an entertainment attorney who was present with him at the North Hollywood station, asking that a will be prepared to protect Rose, the young daughter he had with the shooting victim in case the killer was after him, too.
At first Pinner stated that he couldn't recall hearing Blake express his view that the killer might have intended to harm him.
Schwartzbach: In your presence, did Mr. Blake express concern that the person who killed Mrs. Bakley might want to kill him?
Pinner: I don't have every word in his statement memorized. I don't recall him saying he was worried about being killed.
But after Schwartzbach had the detective read his own report of the murder night, he reversed himself.
So Blake was expressing concern about he himself being killed?
Blake also suggested that someone in the Bakley family might have been behind the shooting. In his conversation with the lawyer at the police station, Blake allegedly called the Bakley relatives a bunch of "fuckin' piranhas" and "felons."
Pinner also recalled that Blake had discussed Bakley's illegal and unsavory activites with the attorney and said he wanted to protect the baby from her mother's family.
Criminalist Michael Mastrocovo
In its afternoon session, the court heard from Michael Mastrocovo (right), a criminalist who investigated the scene of the homicide, and who showed jurors for the first time the Walther .38 handgun that was used to kill Bakley. Mastrocovo also showed photos of the weapon as it looked when it was recovered from the dumpster. It's surface appeared coated with a powdery substance. It also appeared to have been rubbed down in oil. "It was found with the hammer back and there was a live round in the chamber," Mastrocovo testified.
The oil and debris found on the handgun prevented investigators from obtaining fingerprints or DNA. The gun is similar to the one shown at left.
The criminalist also showed jurors the red purse Bakley had with her the night of the murder. It contained $301 in cash and a cell phone, as well as a variety of face makeup and related objects. He said the presence of money showed that the murder was not the result of a botched robbery.
Mastrocovo also said that the bullets used were an especially-deadly hollow-pointed variety. At the close of the day, he was asked to return in the morning to continue his testimony.