Gary Susman
May 01, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Saying he was ”just happy to be alive,” Robert Blake was finally arraigned on Thursday, nearly two years after his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was found shot to death in her parked car. In a Los Angeles courtroom, Blake, who was freed on $1.5 million bail two weeks ago after almost a year behind bars, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy. Blake’s handyman and bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.

Talking to reporters at the arraignment, the former ”Baretta” star said, ”I believe in the system. I’m standing in front of you, and that’s proof that this is still America and it still works.” According to the Associated Press, pretrial motions will be heard starting June 19, with a trial likely to get underway in October.

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