Decatur Journalist Knew Wife of Robert Blake - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Decatur Journalist Knew Wife of Robert Blake

March 17, 2005 4:39 p.m.

A former actor is acquitted of charges he killed his wife. And a Decatur journalist, who was friends with the man's widow, is surprised at the jury's decision.

Chris Bell knew Bonnie Lee Bakely well, the wife of Robert Blake who was shot to death. Bell said he wasn't surprised when Blake was charged in her death, but now wonders why a jury set him free.

Chris Bell is a reporter for Huntsville Times and has been for 41 years. He's covered stories locally, nationally, even interviewing celebrities. Several years ago, Bell met a woman through free-lance work. Her name was Bonnie Lee Bakely. Bell always called her Lee Bonnie.

"She would call me when she was going out with Robert Blake," Bell said.

She later married and had a child with Blake, but her life ended in 2001. Robert Blake was charged with her murder.

Wednesday, Blake was found not guilty of charges that he killed his wife. Jurors say there wasn't enough evidence. Bell feels there was enough to justify a conviction and said he believes Bonnie Lee knew a secret about Robert Blake and perhaps used it to pressure him into marrying her. But he says he may never know if that secret had anything to do with her murder.

"I remember the last time she said I've got to go, there's Robert. I heard a man's voice in the background. Said I'll call you back. I never heard from her again," Bell said.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Bakley's family.

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