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updated: 1/31/2011 6:28 PM

Death penalty decision delayed in Vernon Hills murder

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  • Daniel Baker

    Daniel Baker


Defense attorneys for Daniel Baker, accused of the April 1 murder of Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills home, convinced prosecutors Tuesday to wait another 30 days before deciding if they will seek the death penalty in the case.

Baker, 21, is held without bond in the slaying that police said happened when Baker exploded in a rage over Aksman's attempts to break off his relationship with her daughter.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix told Circuit Judge Fred Foreman she had received some of Baker's school records to review from his defense team.

However, Fix said she was more interested in looking at records pertaining to Baker's history of mental health treatment before meeting with State's Attorney Michael Waller to discuss the death penalty.

Chicago attorney Edward Genson told Foreman the defense team is "on track" with getting a psychological evaluation of their client and were trying to obtain past records.

Genson said the problem the defense is encountering in their search for the records is they are old and various keepers of the records are having difficulty locating them.

Foreman agreed to give the defense another 30 days to collect evidence about Baker's background to support their effort to convince Waller not to seek the death penalty.

Police said Baker became enraged after Marina Aksman ordered him to stop seeing her daughter, Kristina Aksman, 20.

Baker drove from his home in Deerfield during the early morning hours of April 1, crashed his car into the front of the Aksman residence and stormed inside, police said.

Once there, according to officials, he beat Marina Aksman to death with a baseball bat as her daughter looked on, then took Kristina with him as he fled the area in Marina's car.

Police arrested the pair five days later in Cut Bank, Mont., near the Canadian border and say Baker confessed to the crime.

Kristina Aksman was not charged in connection with her mother's death and officials said she is considered a witness.

Foreman ordered the parties to return to court on Nov. 3 to update him on their progress.