Jury Selected for Robert Blake's Trial

A jury of seven men and five women was selected Wednesday to decide whether actor Robert Blake (search) murdered his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley (search).

The panel was selected and sworn in after a prosecutor and defense attorney used numerous challenges to remove potential jurors from the jury box. They did not have to state a reason for the peremptory challenges.

Six alternate jurors, three women and three men, also were chosen.

The panel was ordered to return Monday morning for opening statements. In the interim, Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp plans to hold hearings on motions.

Bakley was shot May 4, 2001, in a car near a restaurant where she and Blake had just dined. Blake, 71, star of the old "Baretta" TV series, had married her after DNA tests showed he was the father of her baby.

Blake pleaded not guilty to murder and solicitation of murder. He is free on $1.5 million bail, but confined to home.

The final selection came after two weeks of individual questioning of prospective jurors who were warned by the prosecutor that the case against Blake is entirely circumstantial.

The jurors ranged from the very young to the old, with a number of middle-age panelists.

Schempp told them it was important that they avoid exposure to publicity about the case, leaving the room if something comes on television and asking family members to clip their newspapers.