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updated: 11/3/2010 11:51 AM

Death penalty decision delayed in Vernon Hills slaying

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  • Daniel Baker

    Daniel Baker


Prosecutors were granted another 30 days Wednesday to decide if they will seek the death penalty for the suspect in a Vernon Hills murder.

Daniel Baker, 21, is accused of the April 1 beating death of Marina Aksman, 50, that police said was sparked by Aksman's attempts to end Baker's relationship with her daughter.

Defense attorneys told Lake County Circuit Judge Fred Foreman they are still gathering background information on their client and seeking a psychological evaluation of him.

Baker is accused of breaking into the Aksman home and beating the victim to death with a baseball bat while her daughter, Kristina Aksman, 20, looked on.

Police said Baker then stole Marina Aksman's car, took her daughter and fled the state.

He was captured five days later in Cut Bank, Mont. Officials said Kristina Aksman is considered a witness in the case and will not be charged with any crime.

Prosecutors said Baker, of Deerfield, is eligible for the death penalty because the murder occurred during a felony home invasion.

They are required to inform defense attorneys of their intent to seek the death penalty within a reasonable time after the arraignment of a suspect.

Defense attorneys have the right to present evidence in an attempt to convince prosecutors not to seek the ultimate punishment, and Baker's attorneys told Foreman they intend to do that.

Foreman continued the case until Dec. 22. Baker is held without bond.