INSIDER REVEALS NEW DEFENSE THEORY: BRANDO'S SON MURDERED BLAKE'S WIFE!

Published on: June 26, 2003

Stunning new allegations uncovered by Robert Blake's defense team may turn the actor into a free man, The ENQUIRER has learned.

Defense investigators have located a secret witness whose testimony will blame the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley on Marlon Brando's son Christian!

And as further proof of that bombshell allegation, they say they have a tape recording of a telephone conversation in which Christian Brando, 45 -- who was convicted of killing his sister's boyfriend in 1990 -- actually threatens Bonny Lee's life.

The Blake defense team says their secret witness will say that Brando spoke to two stuntmen and told them he wanted Bonny dead. Brando has consistently maintained he had nothing to do with Bonny's murder.

"Christian is a man who's already been a killer and been jailed for it," a source close to the defense team told The ENQUIRER. "The tape and the new witness will be introduced at the trial and it will rock the case against Robert Blake to its foundations.

"Even if they can't prove that Christian Brando ordered the hit, it will create serious doubts in the jury's mind that Robert Blake was behind it. And serious doubt is all that's needed to get Blake an acquittal."

Christian and Bonny had a brief relationship about a year and a half before she was brutally shot to death in her car in May 2001. When Bonny gave birth to a child on June 2, 2000, and named her Kristian Brando, the unemployed welder thought he was the father of her baby.

But a paternity test revealed the baby was in fact Blake's, and Bonny married the former "Baretta" star and renamed the little girl Rose.

An ENQUIRER investigation reveals that Blake's defense team will attempt to prove:

  • Bonny Lee -- who was having sex with both Brando and Blake -- was sending Marlon Brando's son $12,000 a month that she was getting from Blake!

  • Christian was outraged when he learned he wasn't a father, his name was taken off the birth certificate, "his" child was renamed Rose and his stipend from Bonny ended.

  • Christian told a potential hit man of Bonny, "I want a bullet in her head."

"You've got every motive you want," the source said. "Bonny Lee took his child away and stopped sending the money to him because of her marriage to Blake.

"The defense claims to have two tapes detailing Christian's threats. One was secretly made by Bonny Lee herself and turned over to her relatives. On that tape Christian Brando threatens to kill her on the phone.

"The other, made by defense investigators, is a person up in Washington state (where Brando lives) telling about an incriminating-sounding conversation Brando had with two stuntmen, Jerry Lee Petty and Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton, telling the stuntmen he wants Bonny killed."

Incredibly, one of the stuntmen was also allegedly approached by Blake. Duffy Hambleton testified at Blake's preliminary trial that Blake tried to hire him to kill Bonny. Petty, until now, had not been identified by name. He committed suicide on March 15, 2001, at his home in Hollywood.

The ENQUIRER has verified -- independently of defense sources -- that Brando knew Petty -- and that Petty had even lent him money.

"Jerry Lee often mentioned his friendship with Christian," Petty's sister Margaret Davidson told The ENQUIRER. "Christian had been to the home in Hollywood where Jerry Lee took his life."

Brando's connection with stuntman Duffy is attested to by the secret witness in Washington, the source close to the defense said.

"Her name is Diane," the source said. "She had been a friend to Brando. After the murder, the police went to Washington to interview her, but all they wanted was evidence that Christian was up there on the night of the murder, which she verified he was.

"Diane had more information that she wanted to tell them, but they stymied her and just said: 'We want to get Blake.'"

But defense investigators were willing to listen, the source said, and their interviews with Diane turned up critical new information:

"She says she overheard Christian Brando on a speakerphone talking to Jerry Lee Petty and another stuntman, a man called Duffy. The defense team has no doubt that this was Duffy Hambleton, because this was Duffy 'the stuntman living in the desert.'

"They were talking about guns when Christian Brando said of Bonny: 'I want a bullet in her head.' It was Diane's impression it was Duffy that Brando was asking to do the shooting.

"The defense will argue that Christian Brando ordered the hit, not Robert Blake, and they will suggest that it was Duffy who did the killing -- for Brando."

A friend of Brando says the man "had nothing to do with Bonny's murder" and is "beside himself" over the fact that investigators are looking into his connection to the Blake case.

"Some stuff he said on a phone call that was taped, talking about 'putting a bullet in Bonny's head,' is now being used against him," the friend told The ENQUIRER. "He knows Diane will say she heard him say some stupid things. He regrets what he said, and hopes it's not going to lead to any new trouble."

Blake's criminal attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr., refused to confirm or deny our story, telling The ENQUIRER: "We are pursuing our investigations into a number of leads."