Judge stands by sentence for convicted murderer
BY BETH KRAMER firstname.lastname@example.org May 17, 2013 11:32AM
Inmates: 1,575 population
Who: Maxiumum security adult males
Average age: 35
Average cost per inmate: $30,055
Opened: March 1925
Source: Illinois Department of Corrections
Updated: July 17, 2013 3:17AM
A judge refused to reconsider the 47-year prison sentence he imposed on the Deerfield man convicted of bludgeoning his girlfriend’s mother to death with a baseball bat.
Defense attorney Ed Genson appeared before Circuit Judge Shanes Friday, May 17, to ask the judge to reconsider the sentence and to reconsider finding Daniel Baker, 25, mentally fit for court proceedings.
Baker was not present at the hearing. He is in custody at maximum security Stateville Correctional Center, according to Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).
Shanes convicted Baker of beating Marina Aksman, 50, to death in her Vernon Hills home April 1, 2010. Baker struck the woman with an aluminum baseball bat six to 15 times, took Aksman’s daughter, who he was dating, and fled the state, according to evidence presented at Baker’s trial. Prosecutors said Baker killed Aksman because she didn’t want Baker dating her daughter.
“The court found this case to be one of extreme and needless violence — truly senseless destruction. Indeed, the court found the evidence showed the defendant’s behavior was brutal and heinous ... the court finds no reason to depart from its previous judgement,” Shanes said.
Baker will have to serve 100 percent of his 47-year prison sentence, Shanes said. Baker is due to be discharged from prison March 23, 2060, according to IDOC.
Special appellate prosecutor Dave Neal said he believed Baker’s criminal conduct was likely to reoccur. He also said he disagreed with Genson that Baker has the potential for rehabilitation with treatment and medication.
“The most we can hope for is some kind of remission for the rage that occurs in this man,” Neal said.
After the hearing, Nealsaid he had asked the judge for a life sentence.
“This may be one of the most brutal crimes the community has ever seen ... I personally don’t think anyone is safe when Daniel Baker is walking among us,” Neal said.
Shanes also addressed Baker’s mental competency during the hearing.
Genson made issue of the repeated outbursts his client made during the sentencing hearing. Baker’s interruptions led to his removal from the hearing. Baker was not present in the courtroom when Shanes delivered the sentence.
“Mr. Baker was obviously disgruntled during sentencing ... he may have been behaving rudely, but that doesn’t change the court’s opinion on competency,” Shanes said.
Mental health experts for the prosecution and the defense evaluated Baker. While they all agreed that Baker had several mental health disorders, they differed in their opinions as to Baker’s mental fitness. An expert for the state testified that Baker was mentally fit to stand trial and sentencing, meaning Baker was able to understand the charges against him and cooperate with his attorney. An expert for the defense found that Baker was not mentally fit. Shanes ultimately declared Baker fit at two mental fitness hearings. One mental fitness hearing was held before Baker’s trial and another was held before Baker’s sentencing hearing.
“If I’m going to file an appeal, I have to file a motion to reconsider,” Genson said.
Genson said his client was appealing the case. Genson did not comment after court.
Baker’s parents were present at Friday’s hearing. They declined to comment.