The jury selection in Robert Blake's murder trial got off to a bad start yesterday (25OCT04), when only 20 of the first 177 prospects said they'd be available to serve on a long trial.

Potential jurors were unhappy to discover they could be sitting in a courtroom with the former BARETTA star for five months.

Jury Commissioner GLORIA GOMEZ read a statement from judge DARLENE SCHEMPP stating that prospects would be excused only for legitimate reasons relating to their employment or studies.

Schempp has said she wants a pool of 150 to 200 pre-screened jurors ready to be quizzed on 15 November (04) when lawyers take over. That could involve the screening of as many as 1,800 prospective jurors.

Blake, 71, will stand trial for murder in the death of his wife BONNY LEE BAKLEY. He told police he found Bakley shot in their car on 4 May, 2001, after he went back into the California restaurant where they had just dined to retrieve a gun he carried for protection.

26/10/2004 02:41