Robert Blake’s life took a tragic turn in May 2001 when his second wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley was murdered. According to LAPD Online, Bakley was found murdered in Blake’s car, “slumped in the front seat.” Bakley was 44 years old (23 years Blake’s junior) and had been married to him for one year; however, she’d been married 10 total times overall. In
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news that shocked the world, Blake was charged with Bakley’s murder and arrested 11 months later, per ABC News. “We are confirming that we have arrested Robert Blake in connection with the murder of his wife,” police spokesman Officer Don Cox said at the time.
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Over the years, Blake has denied murdering Bakley. According to his official story, he left her in the car after having dinner, then returned to find her dead. Blake also maintained his version of events during the legal proceedings, including the year he spent in jail before posting a $1.5 million bond, per CNN. In 2003, Blake spoke with Barbara Walters and blamed Bakley’s death on her past. “In my heart, I believe that some man, 10, 15, maybe 20 years ago, because she used to get married to them,” said Blake (via ABC News). “I think she destroyed a lot of lives. And I think one life that she destroyed saw her on television.
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Blake was acquitted of murder charges on March 29, 2005, although his reputation never recovered.