March 8, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Jurors in Robert Blake's murder trial deliberated for about 5 1/2 hours without reaching a verdict or asking any questions of the court.
The former "Baretta" star wasn't in court Monday as jurors deliberated for a second day. Asked if Blake would be present at all during deliberations, defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach replied: "Not unless he has to."
Jurors were to return Tuesday.
Blake, 71, is accused of killing his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, after she allegedly tricked him into marrying her. Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 near Blake's favorite Italian restaurant in Studio City.
Blake is charged with murder, two counts of solicitation of murder and a special circumstance of lying in wait. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
The weekslong trial wrapped up late Friday and jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before going home for the weekend. In his closing arguments, Schwartzbach portrayed the prosecution's key witnesses as liars and accused the police of bungling a rushed investigation.
Blake maintains someone else killed Bakley when he left her briefly in his car to retrieve a gun he left behind during dinner. He told detectives he was armed because his wife feared someone was stalking her.
Blake's .38-caliber revolver was not used to kill Bakley.
Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels told jurors in her closing arguments that Blake killed Bakley because she had tricked him into marrying her by getting pregnant. She argued that Blake then became obsessed with protecting the baby from Bakley, who he believed was a con artist who sold promises of sex by mail.
Schwartzbach argued Blake was willing to put up with Bakley for the sake of their daughter. Blake's defense also attacked the credibility of the prosecution's two key witnesses, a pair of admitted heavy drug users.