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Convicted Deerfield man blames girlfriend for 2010 murder

Daniel Baker 21 Deerfield suspect clubbing death MarinAksman 50 VernHills who was found beaten death inside her home 1848 N.

Daniel Baker, 21, of Deerfield, suspect in the clubbing death of, Marina Aksman, 50, of Vernon Hills, who was found beaten to death inside a her home at 1848 N. Olympic Drive. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 10, 2013 5:47PM

The Deerfield man convicted of bludgeoning his girlfriend’s mother to death with a baseball bat is now blaming his girlfriend for the murder, according to a court document he wrote that was filed in Lake County court Tuesday.

Daniel Baker was convicted of first-degree murder in November. Baker’s confession to the April 1, 2010, bludgeoning of Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills residence was part of the evidence presented at his trial.

His girlfriend, Kristina Aksman, was present at the time of the murder. She testified for the prosecution.

Prosecutors contended that Baker’s motive for the murder was because Kristina’s mother was trying to split the couple up. Kristina was never charged.

Baker penned a motion for acquittal that his attorney Ed Genson presented Tuesday to Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes.

“Within the document he filed, there’s statements implicating he’s not the one who committed the offense. It was his girlfriend. This is the nature of his motion for new trial,” prosecutor Dave Neal said after the hearing was over.

A copy of the document was not immediately available. Neal said Baker’s motion was similar to a post-trial motion asking for a new trial.

“Issues (in Baker’s motion) include his theories of defense and evidence that could have come up at trial,” Shanes said.

The specific contents of Baker’s motion were not discussed. A hearing addressing it will be held Feb. 5.

Genson also said Tuesday that he had a psychiatrist meet with Baker and that a report was being prepared. Genson is once again questioning his client’s mental fitness, meaning Baker’s ability to understand the charges against him and his ability to work with his attorneys.

Genson unsuccessfully sought a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, meaning Baker had a mental disorder that impaired his ability to understand right from wrong at the time of the murder. Insanity is different from mental competence. Baker was found to be mentally competent shortly before his trial started.

Genson has brought mental fitness up before, most recently in a request that Genson wrote for a new trial. Shanes denied Genson’s request in November.

In his motion, Genson wrote that Baker “was not competent for a trial and defense counsel maintains that he is still not competent.” Genson included an affidavit with his motion Nov. 26.

“It is my strong belief that Mr. Baker was not competent before, during or after his trial on the charge of first-degree murder,” Genson wrote in his affidavit.

Baker acted against Genson’s advice and waived his right to a jury trial, instead allowing Shanes to preside over the case in a bench trial, Genson wrote.

“Midway through his trial, Mr. Baker indicated to me that he did not agree with the insanity defense because he wasn’t insane. Instead, he began to insist that he was in the house at the time of murder and that he had nothing to do with it,” Genson wrote.

Baker “constantly voiced his conspiracy theories” while witnesses testified during his trial, Genson wrote.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Genson said his psychiatrist should have his report evaluating Baker ready within two weeks. Neal said he would contact some experts about the possibility of evaluating Baker.

Baker remains in custody at Lake County Jail. He faces up to life in prison.

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