LOS ANGELES – Robert Blake (search) cried out for help for his dying wife, wailed hysterically and vomited on the sidewalk, witnesses testified Tuesday at his murder trial, but some of them insisted his behavior didn't seem genuine.
"It seemed forced," said Mary Beth Rennie, a hospital administrator who cited Blake's demeanor as the reason she and her boyfriend, a doctor, did nothing to assist Bonny Lee Bakley (search), who was in a car nearby, shot in the head and arm.
"It didn't seem genuine or real," she said of the actor's behavior.
Dr. James Michael McCoy (search) gave essentially the same description when he testified earlier that he and Rennie also saw Blake pounding on the door of a home, crying out that his wife was injured and asking for someone to call 911.
Rennie added, though, that she told detectives Blake was "hysterical" and "frantic."
Also Tuesday, jurors were told they'll be taking a field trip to the restaurant where Blake and Bakley dined the night of May 4, 2001. The prosecutor has asked that they visit at about the same time of night that Bakley was shot.
Blake, 71, maintains that after the couple dined at Vitello's restaurant, they returned to their car and he then left Bakley to go back to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection and had left behind. He said he returned to find her mortally wounded. The murder weapon — a different gun — was found in a nearby trash bin. It contained no recoverable fingerprints.
The actor is charged with murder, lying in wait and soliciting two stuntmen to murder Bakley, 44. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Tuesday's witnesses included a waiter who has known Blake many years. George Brumbly said the couple's visit that night appeared normal until Blake returned yet again screaming for help.
"His eyes were open wide. He was panting, breathing heavily and he asked for a doctor," said Brumbly, who located a nurse.
"I said to Mr. Blake, 'Come on, Robert, I have a nurse,"' he recalled, adding they raced out into the street. By then, he said, emergency vehicles were approaching and Blake pointed them toward the car.
A firefighter-paramedic testified of finding a woman in very critical condition. Lawrence M. Jackson said he was focused on his patient and paid little attention to Blake.
"I remember looking over at one point. He was sitting on the curb and he had vomited," he said.
Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels has focused the first part of her case entirely on Blake's demeanor. She elicited testimony that Blake did not go near his bleeding wife and did not try to go in the ambulance with her.
Defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach's cross-examination of Rennie hammered away at the absence of any action by her or McCoy.
"Did you say to Dr. McCoy that maybe they could use your help?" Schwartzbach asked.
"I never said anything," she responded.