- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A doctor who heard Robert Blake calling out that his wife was bleeding and needed help testified yesterday that he did not offer assistance because he thought the actor’s cries were insincere.

Dr. James McCoy, a hospital administrator, was called to the stand by prosecutors after a medical examiner told the jury in Mr. Blake’s murder trial that it was unlikely Bonny Lee Bakley could have been saved after being shot through the cheek and shoulder as she sat in a parked car.

Dr. McCoy said he and a friend were walking nearby when they heard a man shouting for help and banging on the door of a home. Dr. McCoy did not know that the man was the famous actor.

“I heard a man’s voice calling, ‘Help, my wife is bleeding,’ ” Dr. McCoy recalled. “The first impression I had is it was not a call for help. I thought maybe this was a home-invasion robbery.”

The doctor said he steered his female friend across the street to take shelter under a large tree because “personal safety was a concern. Something didn’t seem right.”

Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels asked Dr. McCoy whether his response was due to the man’s demeanor.

“It didn’t have an element of distress,” Dr. McCoy said. “It seemed more cajoling. I felt there was something wrong going on and it would be better to be safe rather than to be exposed.”

Mrs. Bakley, 44, who had recently married Mr. Blake when tests showed he was the father of her baby daughter, was shot May 4, 2001, after dining at Vitello’s restaurant in Mr. Blake’s Studio City neighborhood.

Mr. Blake maintains he left Mrs. Bakley in the car to go back into Vitello’s to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection and returned to find her bleeding in the car.

Mr. Blake, 71, is charged with murder, lying in wait and soliciting two stuntmen to murder his wife. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dr. McCoy said that within minutes he saw the man who had been shouting enter Vitello’s and then saw people run out of the restaurant and down the street toward a car.

On cross-examination by defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach, Dr. McCoy said that even then he still did not offer to help. He said he was told that a nurse was present and later was told that the man had a gun.

During the entire episode, as he watched paramedics arrive and saw Mrs. Bakley’s body taken to an ambulance, Dr. McCoy said he never told anyone that he was a physician.

“I thought if there was any indication I could render assistance I was available to do that,” he said.

The medical examiner, Dr. Jeffrey Gutstadt, said his investigation of Mrs. Bakley’s wounds indicated the shooter was more than 1 feet away, and that both wounds were lethal.

“It would not be an instantaneous death,” Dr. Gutstadt said, suggesting it would have taken three to 15 minutes for Mrs. Bakley to die but there was little paramedics could have done.

“It is unlikely that in this case they would have been able to save her life,” Dr. Gutstadt said.

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