LATEST: Troubled actor Robert Blake's fate is in the hands ofjurors after closing arguments in his murder trial wrapped yesterday (04MAR05).

Blake's attorney M GERALD SCHWARTZBACH spent much of Thursday (03MAR05) and yesterday morning insisting his client was innocent of charges he shot and killed his wife Bonny Lee Bakley.

Schwartzbach told the jury in the case that the authorities "mishandled evidence" and then tried to cover it up, adding that gunshot resin tests had been carried out in violation of Los Angeles police policy, and proved to be sloppy and biased.

Schwartzbach added, "We know that they (police) convicted Mr Blake on the night of the murder. They didn't arrest him for 11 months.

Deputy District Attorney SHELLIE SAMUELS was allowed a brief rebuttal before the case was handed over to the jury on Friday afternoon (04MAR05) for arbitration.

05/03/2005 01:42