LOS ANGELES – Robert Blake's (search) defense rested Wednesday without calling him to the stand, but the actor was able to tell jurors his story in a videotape of a TV interview that was played in court.
"It's all about Rosie," he said, referring to the baby he had with slain wife Bonny Lee Bakley (search). "It's always been about Rosie. The greatest gift in the world, and I'm going to try to mess it up by being selfish?"
The final day of Blake's extensive defense case also featured his adult daughter, Delinah Blake-Hurwitz (search), testifying about her adoption of the child and undergoing such a rigorous cross-examination by the prosecutor that many of the questions went unanswered when Judge Darlene Schempp ruled they were argumentative.
Rosie was seen by jurors for the first time during the videotape of the Barbara Walters interview, which showed Blake with the little girl on his shoulders.
Blake is accused of murdering Bakley on May 4, 2001. They had been married the previous November after tests showed Blake was the father of the baby.
Following the defense's presentation, which featured 38 witnesses, the prosecutor said she would put on a rebuttal case calling more witnesses Thursday.
The prosecution case depended heavily on the testimony of two retired stuntmen who said that Blake solicited them to kill Bakley. Other witnesses spoke of his anxiety when he found out Bakley was pregnant and his desire to get her out of his life but to keep the baby that he loved.
In the defense case, the ex-stuntmen were attacked as drug addicts prone to hallucinations and delusions.
Blake, 71, a lifelong actor who starred in the 1970s detective show "Baretta," could face life in prison if convicted.
In the interview video, which was recorded when Blake was in Los Angeles County jail, he was clad in an orange jumpsuit and his eyes were reddened.
He appeared agitated as Walters questioned him about why he had not divorced Bakley. He said there was no need to divorce her because they were going to make a go of it.
"What did I have to lose?" he said. "God gave me the gift of the century. I always thought my life was a home run. Now, at the end of the trail, I was going to get to hit the ball out of the universe."
Blake mentioned that he knew she was doing "her business" from his house and "I was going to take care of that." He said that she had another house in suburban Thousand Oaks and she could do it there.
Witnesses have said that Bakley conducted a mail-order scam in which she coaxed men to send her money with promises of sex.
Blake described himself to Walters as "an old man" and said he had been spending his time picking up women in bars, suggesting that his relationship with Bakley and the birth of the baby was an improvement.
The court was packed as Blake's adult daughter took the stand.
Married and pregnant with her own child, Blake-Hurwitz said that when she first met Rosie, the child was a 4-month-old who was withdrawn, kept folding herself into a fetal position and didn't make eye contact with anyone.
Blake-Hurwitz, a psychology professor, said she immediately arranged for a friend take Rosie to a pediatrician. Within three weeks Rosie was gaining weight and "giggling," she said.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Shellie Samuels angrily accused the witness of ending a previous marriage because her husband didn't want children. The implication appeared to be that Blake wanted the baby in order to give his daughter a child.
Blake-Hurwitz said that's what her ex-husband may have believed, but it was not her reason for the annulment.