LATEST: A witness in the Robert Blake murder trial claims the actor was laughing and smiling as he dined with his wife the night she was killed.

Bonny Lee Bakley was shot on 4 May (01) after eating at VITELLO'S restaurant in California.

After the meal, Blake maintains he left Bakley in their car while he returned to the eatery to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection and returned to find her bleeding.

Vitello's co-owner JOE RESTIVO told the Los Angeles court last Wednesday (22DEC04) that he recalled Blake returning in distress and looking for a doctor - but that he did not retrieve his firearm.

Restivo says, "He was out of it. He was in hysterics. He was saying, 'We need help', or 'Somebody hurt my lady'."

However, Restivo admits he was busy that night preparing takeaway orders for customers.

Prosecutors claim Blake killed his wife because he wanted sole custody of their daughter.

The trail has been recessed until 4 January 2005.

28/12/2004 12:57