Weather Updates

Psychiatrist claims ‘Baker was legally sane’

Daniel Baker

Daniel Baker

storyidforme: 38938461
tmspicid: 14356099
fileheaderid: 6566510

Updated: November 26, 2012 6:58AM

The Deerfield man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend’s mother to death acted in an organized, goal-oriented manner before, during and after the commission of the murder, a psychiatrist testified Wednesday.

Dr. Stafford Henry was testifying why he did not believe Daniel Baker, 24, was legally insane when Marina Aksman, 50, was beaten to death in her Vernon Hills home April 1, 2010. Henry’s testimony was in rebuttal to the psychiatrist who testified for the defense earlier this week that Baker was insane at the time of the murder.

“My opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty ... is that Baker was legally sane,” Henry said.

He said he based his finding on several factors, including six hours of interview time with Baker, Baker’s recorded confession, his school records and a voice mail message Baker made.

Baker grabbed a black baseball bat before he left his residence the night Marina was murdered, Henry said. Baker also listened to his voice-mail messages from Aksman.

“She called him a viper. He said he was surprised at how much anger she was directing at (Baker),” Henry testified.

Baker described driving his Neon into the front step of Aksman’s residence and of breaking a window with his baseball bat to get into the house, Henry said.

Baker also described how he hit Aksman with a baseball bat, Henry said.

“Mr. Baker said while he and the victim were in the bedroom, he first hit (her) in the knee. His second hit was to the side of her head. He then said that they were quite consistent hits to the victim’s head to the point that quote, her brains were out,” Henry said.

After the Vernon Hills woman was dead, Baker made sure his girlfriend Kristina Aksman, Marina’s daughter, had her medication before they left, Henry said. Baker took Kristina on a road trip. Baker was apprehended in Glacier County, Montana, a few days after the murder.

Baker told Henry that he considered fleeing to Canada and to Mexico.

“He did not have a passport. He had just killed someone and border patrol (in Canada) might pull them over,” Henry said when asked why Baker did not flee to Canada.

While on the road trip, Baker had heard that there was an earthquake in Mexico, Henry said.

“It was his opinion that he could gain entry to Mexico. His belief was because of the earthquake, border patrol would be preoccupied with disaster relief,” Henry said.

These actions and thoughts that Baker reported demonstrate a lack of psychotic symptoms, goal-directed behavior and awareness of the criminality of his behavior, Henry said.

Prosecutors allege that Baker attacked Aksman because she tried to end his romance with Kristina. The defense is seeking a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The case is being tried before Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes instead of a jury.

Before Henry testified Wednesday, the defense rested. Baker also decided not to take the stand in his own defense.

“I have my rights intact here, unlike in Montana, so I will plead the fifth,” Baker told Shanes.

The trial is due to resume Friday, Nov. 2.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.