LOS ANGELES – A man who befriended Robert Blake (search) testified in the actor's murder trial that Blake was "totally paranoid" about Bonny Lee Bakley (search) having contact with their child and had even offered her $250,000 to get out of his life.
Robert David Renzi (search) offered an account of Blake's frame of mind concerning Bakley in the time after learning he fathered her baby and leading up to their abrupt wedding.
Bakley was fatally shot in the actor's car on the night of May 4, 2001, after they had dined together. No one witnessed the shooting. Blake has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Renzi said Wednesday that Blake's handyman took him to the former "Baretta" (search) TV star's house one day in 2000 after he had asked to meet the actor.
"I met Mr. Blake at the door. It was a bit of a thrill for me," he testified.
Blake soon began confiding concerns about Bakley and her past, Renzi said.
Bakley has been depicted in pretrial documents as a con artist who took money from men with promises of sex. Renzi said Blake showed him documents involving Bakley's legal troubles in Arkansas and "he told me how she conned everybody. That was her lifestyle."
Renzi also testified that Blake told him he had once offered Bakley $250,000 to get out of his life, but she wouldn't take it.
Blake was determined to keep his baby daughter away from her mother, Renzi said.
"He was totally obsessed with love for that child," Renzi said. "He was totally paranoid about her (Bakley) coming in contact with the child because of her past."
He said Blake asked him for help and at one point offered him $10,000 in cash for any help Renzi could provide in dealing with Bakley. Renzi said he refused the money but offered to put him in touch with another man who had connections with federal authorities.
The man, Luis Mendoza, was expected to testify Thursday.
One night, Renzi said, Blake called him and announced, "I'm getting married, come on over."
Renzi said the small ceremony went off "one, two, three."
During cross-examination, Renzi said Blake never asked him to do anything illegal, and that Blake's tone changed after the marriage.
"You asked him how he liked married life?" asked defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach.
The witness said Blake told him, "It's OK, she's in the back house."