Eight months after Robert Blake was acquitted at a criminal trial of murdering his wife, a civil jury decided Friday the tough-guy actor was behind her slaying. The jury ordered the former "Baretta" star to pay the children of Bonny Lee Bakley $30 million in damages.
After eight days of deliberations, the jury determined by a vote of 10-2 that Blake "intentionally caused the death" of Bakley, who was gunned down May 4, 2001 in the actor's car outside a restaurant where the couple had just eaten.
The jury decided Blake's handyman, Earle Caldwell, did not collaborate with Blake to kill Bakley. That vote was 10-2 against. The vote on damages was 9-3.
The plaintiffs argued that Blake either killed Bakley himself or hired someone to do so. The jury was not asked to decide which theory it believed.
Blake was acquitted at his criminal trial last March. Bakley's children sued the actor in 2002, claiming he should be held responsible for their mother's death and forced to pay damages.
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