LOS ANGELES – Prosecutors wound up their murder case against Robert Blake (search) with the actor's recorded voice — and the real Blake breaking down in tears.
Blake collapsed in sobs Monday as tapes were played of him talking about his love for the daughter he had with his slain wife, Bonny Lee Bakley (search). The distraught "Baretta" (search) star was rushed out of the courtroom by his attorneys, his wails resonating from the hallway. He later regained his composure and returned.
Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels rested her case after playing tapes from a 2003 interview of Blake by Barbara Walters for the ABC program "20/20" and audio recordings of Blake talking with an unidentified visitor while he was in jail before being released on bail.
In the recordings Blake referred to Rosie, his daughter with Bakley. The baby was conceived during a casual sexual relationship and was the reason for the couple's marriage about five months before Bakley was killed.
"What the (expletive) are they going to do to me? ... God's been on my shoulder since I was born. God's been on my shoulder since Rosie was born," Blake said in one of the audio tapes.
Another clip quickly followed in which Blake said, "When this (expletive) is over, no matter what happens, they're going to be all right financially. Rosie is safe. Those monsters will never get her."
The prosecutor has said "monsters" was a reference to Bakley's family.
Blake, 71, is charged with shooting Bakley, 44, on May 4, 2001, as she sat in a car near his favorite restaurant. He said he returned to the car to find Bakley mortally wounded after leaving her briefly to return to the restaurant to retrieve his gun. The weapon, which Blake says he inadvertently left behind, was not the one used to kill Bakley.
Lawyers for Blake were set to begin his defense Tuesday.
Monday's dramatic outburst ended a day of uneventful testimony about bank and telephone records and forensic evidence taken from the car in which Bakley was fatally shot.
A fraud detection specialist testified that Blake cashed checks worth $126,000 from two accounts in the months before his wife was killed — activity that triggered a suspicious-activity report from his bank.
Samuels suggested at the outset of the trial that Blake may have made the withdrawals as part of a plot to hire someone to kill his wife.
On cross-examination, Helga Shattuck, a senior compliance specialist for City National Bank, testified that Blake withdrew nearly $138,000 from an account between January 1999 to June 2000. She said these withdrawals did not trigger any reports of any suspicious activity.