October 6, 2005

Actor Blake tells LA court he loved murdered wife

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Robert Blake, who was
acquitted earlier this year of murdering his wife, Bonny Lee
Bakley, told a civil damages trial on Thursday that he loved
her, never harmed her and even tried to get her to see the
errors of her ways.

Testifying in a wrongful death civil trial brought by the
44-year-old Bakley's children, Blake denied hiring anyone to
shoot her to death on May 4, 2001, and denied pulling the
trigger himself.

"I loved Bonny, and I always prayed that God would sneak in
there and get a little light in her life," the 72-year-old
former star of the "Baretta" television series said as he
described trying to get Bakley to give up running a lonely
hearts scam.

Blake added that he once had been addicted to pain
medication and was helped by a 12-step program that he thought
could also help Bakley.

The actor said he met Bakley at a restaurant and had sex
with her that night. "There aren't many women that will simply
just sleep with you and get on the bus, if you know what I
mean," Blake said.

He described her as talkative, cunning, smart and charming
and added, "She could get a rock to follow her down the road if
she wanted to. She could charm the eyes out of a rattlesnake."

In testimony on Wednesday, Blake said he and Bakley were
planning a life together so they could raise their now
5-year-old daughter, Rose. At his murder trial, prosecutors
alleged that he killed her to prevent her from raising the
daughter because he feared how the girl would be treated by a
person he considered to be a scam artist.

Bakley was found shot to death while in a car parked near a
restaurant where the couple had dinner. Blake said he had gone
back to the restaurant to retrieve a gun that he had left