Robert Blake and His Defense

ByABC News via logo
April 23, 2002, 8:16 AM

April 23 -- Robert Blake's attorney today admitted his client had a motive, but did not kill his wife and was "very resigned to staying the course" after pleading not guilty to the killing of Bonny Lee Bakley.

Blake, 68, faces a four-count complaint specifying 18 "overt acts." In addition to murder, Blake was charged with conspiracy, solicitation of murder, and lying in wait in the shooting death of Bakley, 44.

Defense attorney Harland Braun has suggested that Bakley, the mother of Blake's two-year-old daughter, Rosie, could have given the former Baretta star a motive to kill her. But Braun insists on his client's innocence.

Good Motive

"He married someone he didn't love, he was willing to endure that he did enormous things to maintain control over that child [Rosie] and not let her fall into a life of depravity," Braun said.

"The prosecution said he went farther than that, that he killed Bonny to protect his daughter, I mean that's the only possible motive that makes any sense in this context. The question is not whether he had a good motive or not, the question is whether he went too far with that good motive," Braun said.

Blake's chauffeur and bodyguard Earle Caldwell, who was arraigned with Blake Monday in the shooting death of Bakley, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Under California law, "lying in wait" is a special circumstance that can allow for the death penalty.

Braun told ABCNEWS' Robin Roberts that his client wasn't worried about the possibility of the death penalty.

Not Worried

"Robert has said he is going on 70 with high blood pressure he says 'I have a life expectancy of about 12 years, you know Mr. [Patrick] Dixon may be a clever prosecutor, but he can't take any more years from me than God gives me.' So he is not worried about that," Braun said. "He wants to fight the case on the merits and he is willing to endure whatever he has to endure."

During the five-minute arraignment Monday, Blake sat quietly next to Caldwell, his alleged co-conspirator, who also pleaded innocent to the charges.