Troubled actor ROBERT BLAKE pleaded innocent to murdering his wife
yesterday (27MAR03) - in his first appearance since being released on bail.
During an arraignment, Blake and his co-defendant EARLE CALDWELL waived
their rights to a speedy trial until October (03), when proceedings are likely
Deputy District Attorney PAT DIXON read off the charges against Blake -
murder, solicitation to murder, conspiracy and the special circumstance of
lying in wait.
Dixon asked him, "Mr. Blake, to those charges how do you plead?"
Blake replied, "Not guilty, sir."
Caldwell, Blake's former bodyguard, pleaded innocent to a murder
The 69-year-old actor is accused of killing 44-year-old BONNY LEE BAKLEY
on 4 May 2001, after they dined at Vitello's restaurant - Blake's longtime
hangout in his Studio City, California neighbourhood.
Blake claims he found his wife shot in the head and upper body in their
car, after he went back to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for
But Prosecutors argue that Blake despised Bakley - a con artist with a
criminal record - and wanted to find a way to get rid of her but keep their
baby. The actor, on the other hand, has suggested she was killed by a victim of
one of her con
At the end of the arraignment Blake praised the Judge who granted him
release on $1.5 million (GBP1 million) bail, saying, "I want to thank Judge
(LLOYD) NASH for saving my life."
In a message to his supporters, he added, "I believe in America, I'm happy
to be an American. I'm standing here in front of you and that's proof that this
is still America and it still works."