Jurors Say Evidence Weak in Blake Case

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Actor Robert Blake (search) was acquitted of killing his con-artist wife because the state didn't present a strong enough case, jurors said, citing flimsy evidence and a pair of unbelievable witnesses.

The panelists talked to FOX & Friends Thursday, the morning after their surprising verdict. Blake was found not guilty of one count of murder and one charge of trying to get someone to kill Bonny Lee Bakley (search).

The jury deadlocked 11-1 on a second solicitation charge, which then was dismissed by the judge.

Juror Lori Moore told FOX she thought the prosecution did the best it could.

"I think the state's case was a little bit full of holes, not completely full of holes. But I think they made a good case — I think they did it the best they could with the evidence and everything that they had," she said.

Asked whether Bakley's somewhat shady reputation played into the verdict, juror Cecilia Maldonado said it didn't.

"We've been asked that a lot and, no, she was a human being," she told FOX News. "And she was a woman who was murdered, didn't deserve to be murdered, no matter what the background is. That was not an issue. It was an issue of deciding whether not [Blake] was not guilty."

After the verdict, the panelists talked to reporters about the four-month trial.

"They couldn't put the gun in his hand," jury foreman Thomas Nicholson said outside the courthouse Thursday afternoon. "There was nothing. Supposition more than evidence."

In court, Blake trembled and sobbed when he heard the verdicts, which took jurors nine days to reach. He had faced life in prison.

Blake later spoke to reporters himself, praising his defense team and talking about how the case left him broke.

He then went on to attack some friends and associates who had given interviews about him.

"They're liars, and I'm easy to find and I'm not a bit bashful, and if any of them have any agenda, we can certainly sort it out," he said.

At one point, Blake asked whether anyone in the crowd had something to remove his electronic monitoring bracelet. He then bent down and cut off the ankle device.

Bakley's daughter Holly Gawron, 24, also sobbed after the verdicts were read. She later said she looked forward to proceeding with a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Blake by her family.

"I hope somehow that I will be able to find some justice, some form of punishment for him, because he's off celebrating his freedom for murdering my mother," she said. "It's very hard to deal with."

The jury of seven men and five women delivered the verdicts after a trial with a cast of witnesses that included two Hollywood stuntmen who said Blake tried to get them to kill his wife.

Blake was charged with shooting Bakley, 44, in their car outside the actor's favorite Italian restaurant on May 4, 2001, less than six months after their marriage. He did not testify during the trial.

The defense called it a weak case built largely on the testimony of the two stuntmen, both of whom were once heavy drug users.

"The prosecution built their case on the backs of those two men, and neither one of them was worthy of belief," Blake's lead defense lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach (search), said outside court.

The defense portrayed the stuntmen as prone to hallucinations and delusions.

Blake was acquitted of asking stuntmen Gary McLarty to kill Bakley.

McLarty's "testimony, in my view, was so disjointed and so irregular in what he was trying to say. It had no bearing in my judgment," said Nicholson, the jury foreman.

The judge dismissed a second charge that Blake asked Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton to kill his wife. Nicholson called Hambleton a "prolific liar."

No eyewitnesses, blood or DNA evidence linked Blake to the crime. The murder weapon, found in a trash bin, could not be traced to Blake.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said prosecutors had done their best.

Prosecutors said Blake believed his wife trapped him into a loveless marriage by getting pregnant. They said Blake soon became smitten with the baby, Rosie, and desperately wanted to keep the child away from Bakley, whom he considered an unfit mother.

The child, now 4, is being raised by Blake's adult daughter.

Bakley had been married several times, had a record for mail fraud and made a living scamming men out of money with nude pictures of herself and promises of sex.

Blake has been in front of the camera since childhood, when he was sad-eyed little Mickey in the "Our Gang" movie shorts. He also appeared in the 1967 movie "In Cold Blood," in which he portrayed a killer who dies on the gallows.

In "Baretta," Blake played a tough-talking, street-smart detective whose catchphrase was "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Those acting successes seemed well in the past by the time a divorced and lonely Blake met Bakley at a jazz club five years ago. They had sex in his truck that night, and she was soon carrying Blake's child.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.