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Famous Celebrity Murders and Crime Mysteries in Los Angeles

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The Robert Blake Murder Trial
Actor Robert Blake Accused of Murdering Bonnie Lee Bakely in LA

Actor Robert Blake leaves Van Nuys Municipal Court after jury selection on his murder trial

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Many thought actor Robert Blake was terrifying in the 1997 David Lynch film Lost Highway, but few could have imagined that he'd be on trial for murder just a few years later.

In 2000, Blake married Bonnie Lee Bakley (for whom this was the 10th marriage). Alas, it was not a happy marriage. Bakely had been involved with Christian Brando (Marlon Brando's son). She had gotten pregnant and there was some dispute as to whether Brando or Blake was the father.

On May 4, 2001, Blake and Bakley had dinner at Vitello's, an Italian restaurant in Studio City. Later, Bakley was found dead, shot in the head while sitting in the car parked on a street around the corner from the restaurant. Blake claimed he had gone back to the eatery to retrieve a gun he left there, and that the murder had occurred during that time. This was found to be a different gun than the one that had killed her.

He was tried in a criminal court for murder and soliciting two other men to kill his wife in 2004 and found not guilty and acquitted on March 16, 2005.

A civil trial was later filed by Bakley's children. Blake was ordered to pay $30 million as a result but filed for bankruptcy in February of 2006. Blake's attorney filed a motion seeking a new trial due to alleged jury misconduct. The motion was denied.

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