Robert Blake went on trial for fatal shooting of his second wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, and was acquitted in March 2005

By Christine Pelisek
May 10, 2021 02:24 PM
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Robert Blake and Rose
| Credit: AP

Rose Lenore was just 11 months old when her mother, Bonny Lee Bakley, was fatally shot outside Vitello's restaurant in Studio City, Calif., on May 4, 2001. 

Bakley and Rose's father, 67-year-old actor Robert Blake, had just had dinner — and Bakley was sitting in Blake's 1991 Dodge Stealth when she was shot twice.  

Blake, a former child star who later won critical acclaim appearing in the 1967 Oscar-nominated film In Cold Blood, later told authorities he wasn't there when Bakley was shot and had gone back into the restaurant to retrieve a gun that had fallen out of his clothing.

Authorities didn't believe Blake's claims, and he was charged with Bakley's murder when Rose was just a toddler. 

After nearly a year in jail, Blake posted his $1.5 million bail and was able to spend time with Rose, who was being cared for by Blake's older daughter, Delinah. 

"After he got out of jail he was able to come to the house, and he would come visit me and we would play together," Rose recalls on tonight's episode of People Magazine Investigates: The Price of Fame, airing at 10 ET/9 CT on Investigation Discovery and streaming on discovery+. (An exclusive clip is shown below.) 

"I remember playing with him in the backyard and we would look for bugs together. It was nice." 

Blake went on trial later in connection with Bakley's death and was acquitted in March of 2005.   

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Credit: Virginia Sherwood/ABC News/Reuters; Ben Trivett

Prosecutors "couldn't put the gun in his hand," jury foreman Thomas Nicholson told the Los Angeles Times. "I felt the primary thing from what I saw was that the circumstantial evidence was flimsy."

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Rose previously told PEOPLE she hadn't seen Blake in more than a decade before meeting with him in 2019. 

"We talked about my childhood," she said. "We talked about his life, what he's been doing. Just talked about everything."

She also visited Bakley's grave near the Hollywood Hills.

"I kind of didn't know where she was buried for the longest time," she said. "I could have just looked it up, but I didn't. I just don't think I was ready. And then when I was 18, I was like, 'I'm ready. I want to go visit her.'"

People Magazine Investigates: The Price of Fame, airs tonight at 10 ET/9 CT on Investigation Discovery and streams on discovery+.