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updated: 2/29/2012 10:33 PM

Court views police video interview of suspect in Vernon Hills slaying

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  • Daniel Baker

    Daniel Baker


A police video recording of the interview with Daniel Baker hours after he was stopped in Montana for speeding while the target of a nationwide manhunt was played Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court.

It marked the second day of a hearing into a motion filed by defense attorneys to block prosecutors from using any statements Baker may have made to police about the April 1, 2010 murder of Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills home.

Defense attorneys Edward Genson and Blaire Dalton claim in their motion police capitalized on Baker's state of mind in order to extract a confession to the crime.

Baker, 23, of Deerfield, was found driving Aksman's car five days after she was found beaten to death. Aksman's daughter, Kristina Aksman, was in the car with Baker when he was stopped.

The recording showed that about an hour into his interview with Baker, detective Charles Schletz decided to lay his cards on the table. After listening to Baker claim he could not remember what he had done inside the Aksman house, Schletz got to the point.

"Did you kill her (Kristina's mom), physically," Schletz asked Baker. "Did you hit her with a baseball bat?"

Baker, who prior to this had been rambling about problems with his relationship with both Aksman women and other stress in his life, turned incredulous.

"Why would you ask me that," he says in a shocked tone to Schletz. "Why would you ask me that?"

Police claim Baker gave them a full confession over four more hours of questioning.

Police say Baker eventually told them he drove his car onto the Aksman porch because he was enraged that Marina Aksman was trying to end his relationship with her daughter.

He used a baseball bat to smash his way into the house through the back door, then beat Marina Aksman to death with the same bat while her daughter looked on in horror.

Police said Baker then took Marina Aksman's car, wallet and credit cards and fled the area with Kristina at his side.

On the first part of the recording of Baker's interview with police, Schletz tells Baker that Kristina has already told him what happened inside the Aksman house the night of the murder.

Baker initially says he does not remember exactly what happened, but does tell Schletz that he and both Aksman women argued often.

On the recording, Baker appears to be struggling to remember what happened in the house and at one point tells Schletz he would give him all the details if he could.

As the conversation continues, Baker at one point becomes emotional and tells Schletz "I just want a hug."

Schletz reaches over to Baker and embraces him, then encourages Baker to concentrate on the events at the Aksman house.

"This is poison, you can't let it sit on your heart," Schletz says to Baker. "Let's talk about what happened in that bedroom."

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