Robert Blake’s first wife and the adult daughter of his slain second wife took the witness stand at the actor’s murder trial Thursday, testifying about Blake’s troubled relationship with Bonny Lee Bakley.
Bakley’s daughter, Holly Gawron, 24, told the jury that while living in Arkansas with Bakley, Gawron sometimes answered the phone and heard Blake “yelling, cursing obscenities” when he thought he was talking to Bakley.
Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 as she waited in a car for Blake outside a restaurant. Blake said he returned briefly to the restaurant to retrieve a gun before finding Bakley mortally wounded.
The 71-year-old actor is charged with killing Bakley, whom he married after learning he had fathered her child. Prosecutors allege he wanted to keep the baby, Rosie, from Bakley, who had a criminal record and was on probation.
Gawron testified her mother was happy after learning she was pregnant and “asked what I thought she should do about telling Robert Blake.” She lived with Bakley throughout the pregnancy and often cared for the child after she was born.
During cross-examination, Gawron said she had been asked by Bakley to help her with “a fertilization monitor.”
“She was trying to find out her most fertile day,” she said.
“Your mother was trying to get pregnant?” asked defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach.
“Obviously,” said Gawron.
She said at that same time, Bakley was carrying on a relationship with Christian Brando, son of the late actor Marlon Brando, and he would often telephone her.
Gawron also acknowledged she was enlisted to work in Bakley’s mail order business. Others have testified Bakley scammed men out of money with promises of sex, sending them nude pictures of herself.
“I would buy stamps, write addresses on envelopes and mail them,” the daughter said.
The defense suggested Gawron, who has filed a civil lawsuit against Blake, has a financial interest in the outcome of his murder trial.
“It’s your understanding that if Mr. Blake is convicted it would help your civil suit?” Schwartzbach asked
“I suppose it would,” Gawron said. “But that’s a separate trial and I’m trying to make it through this one right now.”
Also taking the stand was Sondra Blake Kerr, who was married to Blake for 20 years and is the mother of his two adult children. She said she and Blake attempted a reconciliation the year before he married Bakley.
She recalled seeing Blake in January 2001 while she was out running.
“I gave him a hug and said, ‘Congratulations on your marriage and the new baby.”’
She said his response was, “Yeah, yeah.”
“I said again, ‘Gosh, a new baby,”’ she recalled.
“And did he do something?” asked Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels.
“He grabbed me by the wrist and said, ‘The baby’s real but the marriage isn’t,”’ she said. “He pushed me up against the wall and said, ‘The marriage is all smoke and mirrors.’ ... He said it was a big mess.”