Jury selected for trial of Robert Blake wrongful-death lawsuit
BURBANK, Calif. – A jury was seated Wednesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against actor Robert Blake by his slain wife’s children.The case pits Bonny Lee Bakley’s four children against Blake, who earlier this year was acquitted in a criminal trial of charges that he murdered his wife. Opening statements were scheduled to begin Thursday.The 11 men and five women chosen to hear the case will not know until the end of testimony which of them are regular jurors and which are alternates, a method chosen by Superior Court Judge David Schacter.The jurors were selected from among 70 prospective panelists over three days.In the final round of challenges, lawyers eliminated a number of prospective jurors who expressed strong opinions on the case or protested that a second trial for Blake was the equivalent of double jeopardy.The lawyers kept on the jury a number of people who said they had either no knowledge of Blake’s criminal case or had followed it only sporadically.The final panel included a woman postal carrier, a retired aeronautical engineer, an employee of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation and a man who does maintenance at a church. The jurors are mostly middle-aged or older, and most are parents of grown children.Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 as she sat in Blake’s car outside a Los Angeles restaurant where they had just dined. Blake, who did not testify at his criminal trial, has asserted that he found his wife shot after briefly returning to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection but had left behind.The civil suit also names Blake’s former handyman, Earle Caldwell, as a defendant. Caldwell was initially part of the criminal case but charges against him were dismissed.Vail – Colorado
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