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Married to Murder

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The Robert Blake murder trial has reachedits half-way mark as the prosecution portion of the trial wraps up while the defense makes its case in the coming days.February seems to be filled with legal cases involving murderous spouses. In Whittier a woman faces retrail for in the death of her wealthy husband. Prosecutors insist she hired her cousins to kill husband in carjack attempt. A state appeals court said Rebecca Cleland and Jose Quesada's Fifth Amendment rights were violated when a prosecutor told jurors their silence, as they sat in the back of a patrol car, was evidence of guilt.

Unfortunately, Robert Blake won't have that advantage. Witnesses testify that Blake didn't give a very good performance the night his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, died in Studio City and that he loved his daughter more than her mother. A case filled with drama, reporters note that the strangest witness so far has been a "boisterous gangster-turned-preacher preache named Frank Minucci," who said that the actor had "wanted to annihilate" his wife.

Minucci's testimony provided a dramatic high point in the celebrity murder trial and took even those who have closely followed the case by surprise. His name was not on an earlier prosecution witness list.

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Minucci's brash courtroom performance -- he appeared to fluster a defense attorney by shouting "What?" after an objection -- overshadowed what had been expected to be the culmination of the prosecution case: detailed accounts from the stuntmen who said Blake solicited them to commit murder.