Robert Blake’s former assistant testified Monday that she unwittingly helped the actor kidnap his baby daughter from the girl’s mother, telling the jury in his murder trial that she didn’t go to police because she was afraid of being arrested.
Cody Blackwell wept uncontrollably as she told how Blake asked her to pose as a nurse and take the baby, Rosie, to her house while he took his future wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, to lunch.
Blake, 71, is accused of shooting Bakley, 44, to death on May 4, 2001, after they dined at a restaurant. He claims he found her bleeding after returning to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection but had accidentally left behind.
Blackwell, who said she ultimately sold her story to a tabloid newspaper for $8,000, testified that she never went to police even though she was fearful that he had “done away” with Bakley at the time of the abduction.
“I’m really ashamed of this. I should have called the police and I didn’t because I thought I’d be arrested,” she said. “I thought about myself.”
Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels, Blackwell said Blake told her he hated Bakley.
“He said she was involved with bikers and drug addicts and low-lifes and he couldn’t stand her,” Blackwell said.
She said she posed as a nurse and took the baby from Bakely at Blake’s direction when the mother arrived at his house. She then met Blake later at a school. The two of them drove to a McDonald’s restaurant where he gave her $10 and dropped her off.
Blackwell said that during the trip Blake was “ranting and raving about Bonny and her friends.”
“He said, ’Just let them come to my place. I’ll be ready. I’ll shoot them dead and the birds can pick their bones,”’ the witness said.
Under questioning by defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach, Blackwell acknowledged that Blake liked to be thought of as a “tough guy.”
She also said that while Rosie was at her home she realized the baby had not been cared for, had a rash and was constipated. She said she told Blake to take the baby to a doctor and he said it would be taken care of.
She said she never worked for Blake again, but after hearing that Bakley had been killed she sold her story to Star magazine because she was in bankruptcy and could not afford her rent.
The child’s abduction occurred before Blake and Bakley got married, and was reported by Bakley to police. Officers were scheduled to testify about her report Tuesday.
The prosecution also called William Jordan, a former policeman and private investigator who was hired by Blake to help him gain custody of Rosie after she was born. He said he learned Bakley had an “unsavory” background and advised Blake that if he got temporary custody he would have a good chance of keeping the baby.
Jordan said he never advised Blake to abduct the baby, and everything they discussed was legal.
Jordan also said he had several meals with Blake at Vitello’s restaurant, the same place Blake dined with his wife the night she was killed. He testified that Blake once had a gun with him and left it behind in a booth.