Robert Blake: Innocent

Robert Blake Acquitted of Murder

18 minutes ago

By GREG RISLING, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - A jury acquitted tough-guy actor Robert Blake (news) of murder Wednesday in the shooting death of his wife four years ago, a stunning verdict in a case that played out like pulp fiction.

AP Photo

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Slideshow: Robert Blake Murder Trial

The jury also acquitted Blake of one charge of trying to get someone to kill his wife, but deadlocked on a second solicitation charge.

The 71-year-old star of the 1970s detective drama "Baretta" dropped his head, trembled with emotion, and let out several deep breaths after the verdict was read.

The jury of seven men and five women delivered the verdicts on its ninth day of deliberations, following a trial with a cast a characters that included two Hollywood stuntmen who said Blake tried to get them to bump off his wife.

Blake had faced life in prison; prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Blake was charged with shooting 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley in their car outside the actor's favorite Italian restaurant on May 4, 2001, less than six months after their marriage.

Prosecutors said Blake believed his wife trapped him into a loveless marriage by getting pregnant. They said Blake soon became smitten with the baby, Rosie, and desperately wanted to keep the child away from Bakley, whom he considered an unfit mother.

Bakley had been married several times, had a record for mail fraud and made a living scamming men out of money with nude pictures of herself and promises of sex.

"He was tricked by Bonny Lee and he hated her for it," prosecutor Shellie Samuels said in closing arguments. "He got taken by a small-time grifter."

The defense called it a weak case built largely on the testimony of two witnesses who were once heavy drug users.

No eyewitnesses, blood or DNA evidence linked Blake to the crime. The murder weapon, found in a trash bin, could not be traced to Blake, and witnesses said the minuscule amounts of gunshot residue found on Blake's hands could have come from a different gun he said he carried for protection.

The four-month trial was part of a wave of celebrity court cases in California that have provided endless fodder for the tabloids and cable networks. The Michael Jackson (news) child molestation trial was starting just as the Blake case was wrapping up, and rock 'n' roll producer Phil Spector will stand trial later this year in Los Angeles for allegedly murdering a B-movie actress.

In another murder case that was seemingly made for the tabloids, Scott Peterson (news - web sites) was sent to death row just a few hours before the Blake verdict for killing his pregnant wife and her unborn fetus.

Blake has been in front of the camera from childhood, back when he was sad-eyed little Mickey in the "Our Gang" movie shorts, and was nominated for an Oscar for the 1967 movie "In Cold Blood," in which he portrayed a killer who dies on the gallows.

In "Baretta," Blake played a tough-talking, street-smart detective whose catchphrase was "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Those acting successes seemed well in the past by the time a divorced and lonely Blake met Bakley at a jazz club five years ago. They had sex in his truck that night, and she was soon carrying Blake's child. They were wed in 2000 in a no-frills ceremony at which the bride wore an electronic monitoring bracelet because she was still on probation for fraud.

Prosecutors said Blake killed his wife after failing to persuade a street thug-turned-minister and two stuntmen from his "Baretta" days to do the job. One of the stuntmen said Blake talked about having Bakley "snuffed" and mentioned locations for the killing, including the Grand Canyon.

Also, a former detective who worked for Blake as a private investigator testified that the actor proposed to kidnap Bakley, force her to have an abortion and, if that did not work, "whack her."

The defense portrayed the stuntmen as drug users prone to hallucinations and delusions.

The police "convicted Mr. Blake on the night of the murder, and then they conducted an incompetent investigation," defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach said.

Blake told authorities that he walked his wife to the car after dinner, then discovered he had left his gun back in the booth at Vitello's Restaurant. He went back to get it, then returned to the car and found his wife shot, he said.

But some witnesses testified that Blake did not appear to be sincere as he wept and moaned over the slaying that night. One witness said the actor appeared to be "turning it on and off."

Blake did not testify. But his lawyer showed the jury a videotape of a jailhouse interview with Barbara Walters in which he denied killing his wife.

"It's all about Rosie. It's always been about Rosie," Blake said. "The greatest gift in the world, and I'm going to try to mess it up by being selfish?"

Rosie, now 4, is being raised by Blake's adult daughter.
"I'm like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. . . . I'm not a schemer. I just do things."

Robert Blake Files for Bankruptcy
Sat Feb 4, 6:49 AM ET
Robert Blake has filed for bankruptcy, 2 1/2 months after a civil court jury found he "intentionally caused" his wife's death and awarded her children $30 million in damages.

Blake was acquitted in March in criminal court of murdering Bonny Lee Bakley. In Friday's filing, he listed his biggest liabilities as the $30 million judgment, a $1,274,783 million federal tax bill and a $334,337 state tax assessment. The filing says he has assets of $100,001 and $500,000.

Blake's civil attorney, Peter Ezzell, said he believes the former tough-guy actor is broke. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have written off $200,000 in fees," he said.

Ezzell said he capped his legal fees at $250,000 plus costs. The former "Baretta" star's bankruptcy filing indicates he owes the attorney $7,903.

But Eric Dubin, the attorney who represented Bakley's family in the civil trial, questioned whether Blake is financially destitute.

"The concept of Robert Blake doing everything he can to avoid paying was highly anticipated," Dubin said. "And we're ready for it."

Dubin said Blake sold two homes in recent years. He declined to say what he thinks Blake is worth but said the actor spread his assets around in numerous corporations.

Private investigator Scott Ross, who helped with Blake's criminal defense, said Blake lives off his pension.

Blake rents an apartment in the San Fernando Valley, said his longtime friend, publicist Dale Olson. Blake's adult daughter adopted Rosie, the now 5-year-old girl he had with Bakley.

Ezzell said he plans to file a motion for a new trial in the civil case. He has not done so because the judge who presided over the trial became ill soon after the verdict and has not affirmed or signed the jury's judgment.
This is a snakeskin jacket. And for me it's a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.

Re: Robert Blake: Innocent

THR wrote:Robert Blake Escorted Out of Celeb Autograph Convention
He became unruly after complaining the line at his table was too short.

Actor Robert Blake was escorted out of a celebrity autograph convention over the weekend in Burbank, Calif.

The Baretta star -- who was acquitted in the murder of his wife in 2005 - left the event Saturday after complaining that the line at his table was too short.

He returned Sunday and began signing autographs in the parking lot.

He was booted a short time later for causing a disruption and threatening show organizers.

The mayhem was captured on camera.

"I'm giving away free pictures to my fans because yesterday I embarrassed myself by behaving like a fool, so I came back today to be a good guy and give them pictures and give them autographs because they kept me alive for 70 years," he said.

He also was seen on camera saying, "Call the police. There are deputies right there. There are cops all around."

He left a short time later.
that sounds really bad, until you read the comments below:
robert left on saturday not because the line was to short,,,,idiots,,,,,,a fan had a stack of vitellos menus for robert blake to sign,,, he got pissed at that and he was in a different room outside the main hall,,,, he left because of that,,,,he came back sunday because he had all the photos he made up and he rather give them away than throwing them away in the trash,,,,he signed about 4 thousand dollers worth of photos before a mob started to get unrully and he came inside to calm them down,,,stating im not going anywhere,,,,,then hotel security kicked him out,,,,,,,i hate the hotel for that,,,,davek
that is truly fucked up. whoever brought those menus in should be subject to extended conversations with fist one and fist two. i don't blame robert a bit.

that, and this:
he still looks like MM - terrifying. i can never see him the same again.
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Re: Robert Blake: Innocent

RIP Robert Blake
The Guardian wrote:Robert Blake, actor who was tried over wife’s killing, dies at 89
Emmy winner for Baretta was acquitted of 2001 shooting of Bonny Lee Bakley but found liable by a civil jury

Robert Blake, the Emmy award-winning performer who was tried and acquitted in the killing of his wife, has died age 89.

A statement released on behalf of his niece, Noreen Austin, said Blake died from heart disease, surrounded by family at home in Los Angeles.

Blake’s career never recovered from the long ordeal that began with the shooting death of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley outside a Studio City restaurant on 4 May 2001.

He was adamant that he had not killed his wife, and a jury ultimately acquitted him. But a civil jury would find him liable for her death and order him to pay Bakley’s family $30m, a judgment that sent him into bankruptcy.

The daughter he and Bakley had together, Rose Lenore, was raised by other relatives and went for years without seeing Blake, until they spoke in 2019. She would tell People magazine that she called him Robert, not Dad.

In his youth, Blake starred in the Our Gang comedies and acted in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a movie classic. As an adult, he was praised for his portrayal of the murderer Perry Smith in the movie of Truman Capote’s true crime bestseller In Cold Blood.

His career peaked with the 1975-78 TV cop series Baretta. He starred as a detective who carried a pet cockatoo on his shoulder and was fond of disguises. It was typical of his specialty, portraying tough guys with soft hearts, and its signature line “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” was often quoted.

Blake was nominated for an Emmy in 1977 for his portrayal of Tony Baretta, although behind the scenes the show was racked by disputes involving the temperamental star. He later admitted to struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in his early life. In 1993, Blake received another Emmy nomination for the title role in Judgment Day: the John List Story

In 1993, Blake won another Emmy for the title role in Judgment Day: the John List Story, portraying a soft-spoken, churchgoing man who murdered his wife and three children.

Blake’s career had slowed down well before the trial. He made only a handful of screen appearances after the mid-1980s; his last project was in David Lynch’s Lost Highway, released in 1997.

According to his niece, Blake spent his recent years “enjoying jazz music, playing his guitar, reading poetry and watching many Hollywood classic films.”

Blake married the actor Sondra Kerr married in 1961 and they had two children, Noah and Delinah. They divorced in 1983.

His fateful meeting with Bakley came in 1999 at a jazz club where he went to escape loneliness. “Here I was, 67 or 68 years old. My life was on hold. My career was stalled out,” he said in a 2002 interview. “I’d been alone for a long time.”

He said he had no reason to dislike Bakley: “She took me out of the stands and put me back in the arena. I had something to live for.”

When Bakley gave birth to a baby girl, she named Christian Brando – son of Marlon – as the father. But DNA tests pointed to Blake.

Blake first saw the little girl, named Rosie, when she was two months old and she became the focus of his life. He married Bakley because of the child. “Rosie is my blood. Rosie is calling to me,” he said. “I have no doubt that Rosie and I are going to walk off into the sunset together.”

Prosecutors would claim that he planned to kill Bakley to get sole custody of the baby and tried to hire hitmen for the job. But evidence was muddled and a jury rejected that theory.

On her last night alive, the couple dined out. He claimed she was shot when he left her in the car and returned to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he had inadvertently left behind. Police were initially baffled and Blake was not arrested until a year later.
he really knocked it out of the park with his last role. we were fortunate to get that from him, and it's how i will always remember him.