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updated: 6/29/2011 3:45 PM

Baker's defense has week to decide on report

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  • Daniel Baker is charged in the April 1, 2010 murder of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.

    Daniel Baker is charged in the April 1, 2010 murder of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.


A Lake County judge on Wednesday gave attorneys for the man accused of the 2010 murder of a Vernon Hills woman one more week to decide if they will challenge a report finding their client psychologically fit to stand trial.

Daniel Baker, 21, of Deerfield, was found fit by a court-appointed psychologist on May 14 to stand trial for the murder of Marina Aksman, 50, in her home.

Police said Baker became enraged at Aksman's attempt to end Baker's relationship with her daughter, Kristina. Police said Baker beat Marina Aksman to death with a baseball bat on April 1 of last year.

Baker then fled the area with Kristina Aksman in the victim's car and was captured five days later in Cut Bank, Mont.

His attorneys, Edward Genson of Chicago and Michael Nerheim of Waukegan, asked Lake County Circuit Judge Fred Foreman to order a psychological evaluation of their client in early April.

Psychologist Karen Chantry issued a report the following month saying it was her opinion Baker is capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting in his own defense.

Genson and Nerheim have the option of accepting Chantry's finding or submitting a contrary report to the court and asking for a hearing on the issue of Baker's fitness.

Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix told Foreman on Wednesday it was time for the defense to choose because "it is time to move this case along."

Nerheim apologized for the delay and said a psychologist hired for the defense wants to observe Baker interacting with his attorneys before issuing a report.

Nerheim told Foreman the attorneys plan to bring the psychologist with them to a meeting they have scheduled with Baker in the Lake County jail on July 2.

Foreman told Nerheim to return to court July 7 to detail the defense posture on the issue of Baker's fitness.

Baker, who has been held without bond since his arrest, appeared in court Wednesday wearing the uniform issued by the jail's maximum security division.

Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Christopher Thompson said Baker was transferred to the segregation unit on June 26 after he made verbal and written threats to kill corrections officers.