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Blake's behavior unnatural after murder

Actor Robert Blake's behavior seemed unnatural on the night his wife was shot to death, a witness testified at the Baretta star's murder trial on Tuesday.
PTI | By Reuters, Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON JAN 05, 2005 08:27 PM IST

Actor Robert Blake's behavior seemed unnatural on the night his wife was shot to death, a witness testified at the Baretta star's murder trial on Tuesday.

Taking the witness stand to begin the second week of Blake's trial, hospital administrator Mary Beth Rennie said Blake pleaded loudly for help after the May 4, 2001, shooting outside a Los Angeles restaurant but would not go near his dying wife.

"He yelled so much about his wife, saying, 'She's hurt, she's bleeding,' and yet he stayed away," Rennie said. "If it was someone I loved, I would have been there more."

Prosecutors say Blake, 71, murdered 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley in his car after they dined at Vitello's, his favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant, because he wanted sole custody of their young daughter.

Bakley has been portrayed by both the prosecution and the defense as a con artist who was bent on marrying an actor.

Rennie said she came upon the murder scene after dining out at another restaurant with a doctor friend, but the two of them watched from a distance without ever offering to help.

Blake's attorney, Gerald Schwartzbach, suggested during cross-examination that if anyone's behavior was unusual it was that of Rennie's companion, Dr. James McCoy.

"Did you say anything to Dr. McCoy like, 'Hey, maybe they can use some medical assistance?'" Schwartzbach asked.

Rennie answered: "I thought it best to let him assess the situation. He was deep in thought."

In the afternoon, two firefighters who treated Bakley testified that Blake showed little interest in his wife's condition or in riding in the ambulance. They said that Bakley was shot in the head and upper torso, and they had trouble putting a breathing mask on her face because she was bleeding profusely.

Blake winced when the prosecutor projected a photo of his sedan with the passenger-side door open and Bakley's bloody body slumped over.

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