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updated: 4/9/2010 3:38 PM

Prosecutor: Daughter watched as boyfriend fatally beat mom

But officials say she didn't understand what was taking place

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  • Marina Aksman

    Marina Aksman


Lake County prosecutors said Kristina Aksman watched as Daniel Baker repeatedly hit her mother in the head with a baseball bat after he broke into the family's Vernon Hills home before dawn.

That violence was sparked a few hours earlier during a confrontation at the Baker family's Deerfield home when Marina Aksman arrived to pick up her daughter.

However, defense attorney Ed Genson, who represents Baker, said prosecutors have created a theory to try and bring closure to this tragedy.

"We deny he killed anyone," Genson said. "We have a young man who is involved in a traumatic incident, who is currently locked up and being questioned by police officers who are creating theories to try and close the case. Their theory is wrong."

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller said 20-year-old Kristina Aksman was due home hours earlier when her mother drove to Baker's home at 2 a.m. on April 1.

Baker, 21, and Marina Aksman, 50, exchanged words, Waller said, and Baker was extremely upset after Aksman took the girl back to Vernon Hills.

"She conveyed to him that she didn't want them together when she left with Kristina from Deerfield," Waller said. "He became irate because of it."

Sometime later, Baker called Aksman's residence and left "an extremely threatening voice mail," Waller said.

Waller said he was unsure if the call was from Baker's home residence or the car he was driving to Vernon Hills.

About 4 a.m., Baker arrived at the Aksman's Olympic Drive home in the Gregg's Landing subdivision, and punched the accelerator of the vehicle he was driving in an attempt to drive the car through the front door, Waller said. The four-door silver sedan registered to Baker's mother Diana hit the cement stoop in front of the home, the air bags deployed, and the car stopped.

Baker was unhurt when he climbed out of the car and tried to enter the home through the garage, Waller said. Unable to do so, he went to the back of the house, and with a baseball bat in hand, broke through the rear door.

Waller said Kristina and Marina were awake when Baker entered the home. Baker attacked the mother, hitting her once in the legs before repeatedly bludgeoning her in the head with the bat.

At some point, Kristina walked in and witnessed the murder, Waller said.

Kristina Aksman suffers from mental deficiencies, and prosecutors believe she did not have the ability to understand the significance of what was taking place, Waller said.

"Kristina was there at the time and witnessed at least part of the attack," he said. "We believe she knew what happened in a sense, but her capacity to understand what was taking place is seriously diminished. We don't believe she understood what was taking place when it was taking place."

Following the attack, Baker told Kristina to get into Marina's 2009 Nissan Rogue and they fled the scene. They were captured April 5 in Montana.

"He told her to get in the car and she did," Waller said. "That's the way it was. She followed him. So when he said lets go, she went."

He added there is no indication Kristina Aksman was held against her will during the days they were missing.

"I think she has a little more grasp of what is taking place now," he said.

Baker is charged with first degree murder in the case. Prosecutors say Kristina Aksman will not be charged in connection with the murder. Both are being flown to Chicago and officials expect a bond court for Baker will be held later today, Waller said.

Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Pavletic said his office will ask that bond be denied.