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Expert: Baker’s DNA found on bat

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: November 20, 2012 10:55AM

DNA from the man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend’s mother to death was found at the crime scene, an expert testified Thursday at Daniel Baker’s ongoing trial before Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes.

Baker, 24, of Deerfield, is charged with the first-degree murder of Vernon Hills woman Marina Aksman, 50. Aksman’s daughter, Kristina, 22, was home and witnessed the murder on April 1, 2010, she testified in court earlier this week.

Baker’s DNA was found on both the driver’s side airbag, passenger’s side airbag and on the steering wheel of the Dodge Neon that crashed onto the front step of Aksman’s home the day of the murder, Kelly Lawrence of the Northern Illinois Crime Laboratory testified Thursday.

Baker’s DNA profile “could not be excluded” from the handle of the baseball bat that was used to bludgeon Aksman to death, Lawrence testified. Furthermore, Baker’s DNA profile “could not be excluded” from blood on Aksman’s left hand. The blood sample on Aksman’s hand was taken during her autopsy, Lawrence said.

The Neon that crashed into the Aksman residence more than two years ago would have been traveling at a “top speed of 30 mph,” Lincolnshire Detective Adam Hyde testified. Hyde is the deputy commander of Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team.

Assistant State’s Attorney Patricia Fix asked Hyde to examine the Neon. The axle and tie rod in the car’s undercarriage suffered “significant damage,” causing both air bags in the car to deploy, Hyde said. He also said the air bags would have deployed whether or not there was a passenger seated.

Under cross-examination, Hyde said the airbag inflates at a rate of 100 to 200 mph and renders the driver unconscious.

Prosecutors also started playing a five-hour recorded police interview in court Thursday. The recording was made in Glacier County, Mont., where Baker was apprehended four days after Aksman was found murdered. In the recorded interview, Baker confessed to the killing and re-enacted hitting Aksman with a baseball bat in the presence of two police detectives.

Further testimony is expected today, Oct. 19. The bench trial, meaning Shanes is weighing the evidence instead of a jury, is expected to continue into next week.

Baker is in custody at Lake County Jail.

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