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Blake Jury Pool Is Warned

Potential jurors in the murder trial of actor Robert Blake were asked about topics ranging from restaurants to sexually explicit material, according to an 18-page questionnaire released Monday.

About 150 potential jurors finished filling out the questionnaire in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week. Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp initially denied requests to release the document to the media but later changed her mind.

The questionnaire asked potential jurors if they had ever visited Vitello's, the Studio City restaurant where Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was last seen alive when the couple dined there on the night of her killing. It also asked if they'd gone to the restaurant since the murder.

And it asked whether potential jurors would be too offended by "adult" material shown in the courtroom to fairly consider all the evidence in the case.

Blake, the 70-year-old star of the old "Baretta" TV show, is charged with murdering the 44-year-old Bakley on May 4, 2001. She was found shot to death in their car outside Vitello's.

Blake said someone shot her in the head after he returned to the restaurant to retrieve a gun he had been carrying for protection and had accidentally left behind. Free on bail, Blake could receive a life sentence if convicted.

Loyola University Law School professor Laurie Levenson said the extensive 133-question document was not surprising given the complexity of the case and the publicity surrounding it.

Levenson said the questions regarding "adult" material likely referred to allegations by Blake's lawyers that Bakley ran a business soliciting money from lonely men, often in exchange for nude photos and pornography.

Schempp denied a request Friday by The Associated Press to release the questionnaire. Court spokesman Allan Parachini said Monday that Schempp agreed to release the questionnaire only after the potential jurors had completed it.

Jury selection in the case began last week, a full month before the publicly announced date. Parachini said he believed that it was done without public notice to protect the identity of prospective jurors.

By Laura Wides

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