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Blake jurors speak out

Members explain the liable verdict in the actor's civil trial
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After nearly eight days of deliberation, a civil jury found actor Robert Blake liable for the death of his wife.  He was ordered to pay $30 million in damages to the victim's family.

This case stems from the May 2001 shooting death of Bonnie Lee Bakley who was sitting in the passenger side of his car just outside a restaurant where the two had just enjoyed dinner together.

Known for his tough-guy image, Blake did not seem to charm jurors this time around, despite his acquittal on murder charges in the criminal case.

Jurors described him as arrogant and antagonistic towards the plaintiffs‘ attorneys.  They also said that he was just not credible,

Three of the jurors talked to MSNBC-TV's Rita Cosby about the trial that ended up with a 10-to-2 vote against Blake.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

RITA COSBY, LIVE AND DIRECT HOST: David Lopez, let me start with you.  How did all of you come to this conclusion?  It was eight days.  That‘s a long time.

DAVID LOPEZ, BLAKE CIVIL TRIAL JUROR: Basically, what we did, we wanted to make sure we did the right decision.  We had a lot of testimony.  We had a lot of evidence, a lot of things to look at.  I think I can speak for myself and also some of the other jury members that we wanted to make sure we made the right decision.  It was definitely not a slam dunk, as some reporters or other people had said.  It was something that we really had to think about, confer with the other jurors and make sure we were making the right decision.

COSBY: You know, Demitrius, I want to show a chunk of Robert Blake during the deposition.  This is a tape of him on the deposition.  And I want to get your reaction because I want to find out if this is how he was on the stand in front of you guys.  First, let‘s play the deposition tape of Robert Blake.


ROBERT BLAKE, ACTOR:  Don‘t get cute with me.  Now, I‘m not going to tell you again.  Now, let‘s stick with the facts.  This is not three hours between each question.  You just heard me say that.  I don‘t care if you made a mistake.  I‘m not allowed to make a mistakes, and neither is he.  Did you hear that?


BLAKE:  OK.  Thank you.

I beg your pardon.  Are you unhappy something?  That‘s a filthy, stinking lie.  What is it based on?  Nothing but your own personal nonsense.


COSBY: Demitrius, a very feisty Robert Blake, pointing his finger, shouting.  Is that what you saw on the stand?  And what did you think of him?

DEMITRIUS HALL, BLAKE CIVIL TRIAL JUROR: Well, I think that for one, I think he‘s a liar.  I also think that he has no compassion for what happened.  I also think that he should have also came forward when all this took place and admitted to what he had done.  All I‘m seeking is justice, and I think justice was served.

COSBY: Yvonne, did you hate him, too?  Did you think he was a liar, as well, Yvonne?

YVONNE GONZALEZ, BLAKE CIVIL TRIAL JUROR: I don‘t think any of us hated this man.  That‘s not what our intentions were, to come in and hate Robert Blake.  We listened to the facts and all the evidence.  And you know, I think that him getting on the stand and acting the way did he wasn‘t the best thing in his nature to do, but I don‘t think that any of us ever hated him.  We just did what we thought was best.  We made the right decision.

COSBY: Did you feel he was clearly lying, Yvonne, as Demitrius was just saying?

GONZALEZ: A lot of his statements were inconsistent.  You know, there were some things were very questionable.  And unfortunately, there were more that were more unquestionable than the truth.

COSBY: And David, did you have a lot of questions about him?  And do you think he was his own worst enemy getting up there?  And did you shake your head, as it sounds like David was, too?

LOPEZ: Yes.  We—we came into it when we were called upon, and we sat there.  We came in with open minds, and when we sat in the courtroom, we wanted basically to hear all the evidence, make sure we heard all the evidence from Mr. Blake and all the other witnesses.  And when he started opening his mouth, he was his worst enemy.  He would just blurt out things and—like what you heard on the tape, Don‘t be cute with me.  He was very angry.  Just simple questions would make him angry.

COSBY: Demitrius, how did you guys come up with the amount, 30 million bucks? That‘s a lot of money.

HALL: Yes, it is, Rita.  It‘s a lot of money, but you can‘t pin no price on love and compassion.  I mean, we‘re here today and the verdict had come out to send a message to Robert Blake that nobody‘s above the law.  I don‘t care how much money you have in the world, there‘s nobody above the law.  And that‘s how I feel.  That‘s how the other jurors felt, too, the same way.  It had nothing do with money.  We are all seeking justice, and that justice was prevailed today.

COSBY: And David, what‘s your message, too?  What message do you think your decision sends, David?

LOPEZ: It basically sends — there‘s people out there who think they can do whatever they want.  If they have big pockets, they feel they can do what they want, and essentially they can buy people off.  We just want to send the message that we understand that Bonnie Blake didn‘t live a straight life, with multiple marriages and her business.  There‘s a lot of things that we as jurors had to consider, the way the kids were raised and maybe wasn‘t the ideal family.

You know, we‘re all not perfect.  We understand that.  But no mater what we think or what the public thinks of Bonnie Bakley, no one has the power to take her life.  You know, no one has the power to take anybody‘s life.  At what cost?  That‘s the message we‘re trying to say, is that, you know, you don‘t have the right to decide to take someone‘s life.

Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.