Jury reaches verdict in wrongful death civil trial in death of Robert Blake's wife


Friday, November 11th 2005, 10:19 am
By: News On 6


BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ A jury reached a verdict Friday in the wrongful death civil case against actor Robert Blake, acquitted of criminal charges eight months ago in the death of his wife.

The jury finding was to be read in court later in the day. If they found him liable in the May 2001 death of Bonny Lee Bakley, jurors could order the former ``Baretta'' star to pay damages to her children.

Jurors had begun deliberations Nov. 4; Friday was their eighth day.

Blake was acquitted at his murder trial last March. Bakley's four children sued the 72-year-old actor in 2002, claiming he should be held responsible for their mother's death and forced to pay damages.

Eric Dubin, an attorney for the children, contended that Blake despised Bakley, believing she trapped him into marriage by getting pregnant, and that he decided to get rid of her so he could raise the daughter he adored, Rosie, by himself.

Blake did not testify in the criminal trial but took the stand in the civil case and denied the allegations.

Bakley was found shot to death in Blake's car on a street near a restaurant where they had just dined. Blake claims he went back into the restaurant to retrieve a handgun that he carried for protection but had left behind in their booth, then went back out to the car and found his wife mortally wounded in the passenger seat.

If they decided Blake was behind the killing, jurors were then asked to determine if he collaborated with his former handyman, Earle Caldwell.