Bonny Lee Bakley was married to actor Robert Blake
when she was shot to death in a car outside a Studio City restaurant on 4 May 2001. Blake was nearby, having returned briefly to the restaurant where they had just dined; he denied involvement in her death. (Blake was carrying a gun but the murder weapon, another handgun, was found in a dumpster nearby.) Investigation by police and journalists revealed complicated and peculiar details. Blake reportedly first met Bakley at a local nightclub and they began a casual romantic relationship; they married in 2000 only after paternity tests confirmed that Blake was the father of her infant daughter Rose. (Bakley also had been carrying on an affair with Christian Brando, son of actor Marlon Brando
). Bakley was said to have had a starstruck history of pursuing actors and other famous people; she also had a record of arrests for small-time crimes, and apparently made money by wheedling money by mail from men she met through lonelyhearts newspaper ads. Los Angeles police investigated nearly a year before arresting Robert Blake on 18 April 2002; they charged Blake with murder, saying they believed the actor had pulled the trigger himself. After many delays, Blake's trial began late in 2004, and the jury acquitted Blake of the murder charge on 16 March 2005. Later that year Bakley's children brought a civil suit against Blake.