BURBANK, Calif. – The defense in the wrongful death lawsuit against Robert Blake (search) sought to show Monday that there were at least three potential witnesses to his whereabouts at a key moment on the night his wife was shot but who may not have wanted to talk to police.
Blake contends his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley (search), was shot when he left her in his car to go back inside a restaurant to retrieve a handgun that he carried for protection but had accidentally left in the booth where they dined.
During his criminal trial, which ended in acquittal, no one testified to seeing Blake re-enter the restaurant to get his gun, and he did not testify in that case.
On Monday, he told the civil jury that there were three busboys near the cash register when he re-entered the restaurant but that they didn't speak English and he believed they were undocumented, and unlikely to go to police.
Eric Dubin, the attorney for the Bakley children who are suing Blake, expressed skepticism that someone wouldn't go to the police simply for that reason.
The judge commented: "Well, if you're undocumented are you going to go to the police?"
Blake also testified that he had brought his gun with him the night of Bakley's death because he had become concerned about people lurking outside his home, including a man he dubbed "Buzz Cut."
The defense also focused on a letter in which his late wife expressed concern that she might "miss out" on both Blake's money as well as Marlon Brando's money via his son Christian.
Letters written by Bakley before she was shot to death were presented by attorney Peter Ezzel as part of the defense effort to paint Bakley as a con artist who had many potential enemies.
In one letter, Bakley told Blake that she would drop a planned paternity lawsuit against him and would stop seeing Christian Brando only if Blake would agree to marry her.
In the letter she demanded an engagement ring of "at least a karat, size six."
Bakley's letters were projected onto a courtroom screen and parts were read by Ezzel as he questioned Blake about his evolving relationship with Bakley, the mother of his little daughter Rosie.
Referring to her relationship with Christian Brando, Bakley wrote: "I don't feel it would be worth it to sever that relationship for anything less than an engagement. It might not be just your money I miss out on, it might be Marlon's as well via Christian."
The baby was initially believed to be Christian Brando's before testing determined Blake was the father.
Bakley, 44, was shot to death May 4, 2001. She had given birth to Rosie the previous June, and she and Blake were married that November.
Blake has testified that he knew of Bakley's mail-order business in which she used nude photos and promises of sex to entice men to send her money. He has described her as intelligent as well as "resourceful, cunning, charming."