Baker asks judge to decide his fate in bench trial
BY DAN ROZEK firstname.lastname@example.org October 15, 2012 6:34PM
Updated: November 17, 2012 6:16AM
Daniel Baker’s attorneys lost a last-ditch effort Monday to have the Deerfield man found mentally unfit to stand trial for the 2010 beating death of his girlfriend’s mother.
Prominent Chicago defense attorney Edward Genson — who has said he will raise an insanity defense — also couldn’t persuade the 24-year-old Baker to allow a jury, rather than a judge, to hear the murder charges against him.
“I’d like for a judge to hear the case,” Baker said when questioned in court by Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes, who will hear the evidence and issue a verdict.
Baker’s trial is expected to start today, Oct. 16.
Baker is charged with fatally bludgeoning 50-year-old Marina Aksman on April 1, 2010, after breaking into her Vernon Hills home.
Baker allegedly was upset that Aksman was trying to end his romantic relationship with her 20-year-old daughter, Kristina, prosecutors have said.
After the slaying, Baker fled with Kristina Aksman in her mother’s car — leaving his own car wedged against Aksman’s front porch. Authorities contend Baker had first tried to drive through the front door but was blocked by the brick front steps. He allegedly used a baseball bat to break through rear patio doors and attack the girl’s mother.
Baker was stopped six days later for speeding in rural northern Montana and charged with the killing. Kristina Aksman, who was in her home when her mother was killed, is expected to be a key witness against her former boyfriend.
Genson has argued throughout pretrial hearings that Baker was insane at the time of the killing.