By GREG RISLING, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - A jury acquitted tough-guy actor Robert Blake (news) of murder Wednesday in the shooting death of his wife four years ago, a stunning verdict in a case that played out like pulp fiction.
The jury also acquitted Blake of one charge of trying to get someone to kill his wife, but deadlocked on a second solicitation charge.
The 71-year-old star of the 1970s detective drama "Baretta" dropped his head, trembled with emotion, and let out several deep breaths after the verdict was read.
The jury of seven men and five women delivered the verdicts on its ninth day of deliberations, following a trial with a cast a characters that included two Hollywood stuntmen who said Blake tried to get them to bump off his wife.
Blake had faced life in prison; prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
Blake was charged with shooting 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley to death in their car outside the actor's favorite Italian restaurant on May 4, 2001, less than six months after their marriage.