Robert Blake has thanked the jury which recently acquitted him of the 2001 murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley.

The BARETTA actor was elated when he received the verdict in March (05), and he's now eager to praise jurors, who have since faced criticism for their decision.

He says, "(I'd like to) just to express my deep and most sincere thanks for those people doing their job. I was so sorry that they were criticised or belittled in any way. I apologise to them for that. That was so uncalled for.

"They obviously were not in it for glory or fame or book deals or anything else. And for that kind of stuff to come out my apologies, my deep sincere thanks... This jury was on the dime and on the money all the time. Nobody was sleeping, everybody did their job. I thank them for renewing my faith in humanity."

He also wants to express gratitude to the thousands of supporters who wrote to him while he was locked away in jail for three years - particularly one woman.

He adds, "There was a woman in Sayer, Oklahoma, that wrote me every day for 11 months. Older woman, talked to me about her hip replacement and her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren.

"When she found out that I wanted to croak, she started writing me letters: 'Don't you dare quit on me. All the time I put in on you? You get your a*s up there and you fight. You're gonna get out, you're gonna be alright.'"

18/05/2005 13:03