LOS ANGELES – Robert Blake (search) cried out and put his hands to his head when he was told his wife was dead, but a police detective testified the actor didn't shed any tears.
John Michael Coffey was the latest in a string of prosecution witnesses to question the sincerity of Blake's reactions on the night of May 4, 2001, when his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley (search), was shot to death.
"I noticed he didn't have any tears. It didn't seem to me to be a sincere cry," Coffey testified Thursday at Blake's murder trial.
Blake claims he and his wife went to his car on a nearby street after eating dinner at Vitello's restaurant, and he left her to return to the restaurant to retrieve his gun, which he had forgotten. He claims he found Bakley bleeding when he got back to the car.
Coffey said he met Blake when the actor was brought from the scene where his wife was shot.
"I went into a room with Mr. Blake and his lawyer," Coffey recalled. "I told Mr. Blake his wife had not made it. She had expired. She was dead."
Asked how Blake reacted, Coffey said, "He backed himself up in his chair and let out a boisterous cry and remained crying. He put his hands to his head."
Asked if he noticed anything unusual, Coffey said, "I noticed he didn't have any tears. It didn't seem to me to be a sincere cry."
On cross-examination, defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach asked, "Were you aware he had been crying at the crime scene for some time before you had seen him?"
"No, I was not," the witness said.
The detective also acknowledged he did not write in any of his reports that Blake seemed insincere, although he said he discussed it with other detectives at the station.
Schwartzbach noted those detectives also did not write such comments in their reports.
The prosecution also called a couple who live near Vitello's and were at the restaurant that night.
Andrew Percival and wife Rebecca Markham said they noticed Blake in Vitello's and later saw him alone hurrying past them from the rear as they walked home along the same street where Blake's car was parked. They said he passed them and crossed the street in the direction of the car but after that they heard and saw nothing.
The prosecution has claimed that Blake did not return to the restaurant to get his handgun but merely used that story as an alibi to place himself somewhere else while Bakley was being shot.
Although no one has said they saw Blake re-enter the restaurant to get the gun, the couple's testimony could cast doubt on the prosecution theory because they said he was walking alone from the direction of Vitello's.