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updated: 3/1/2012 5:30 PM

Court hears Vernon Hills slaying suspect's police interview

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  • Daniel Baker is a person of interest in the April 1, 2010 death of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.

    Daniel Baker is a person of interest in the April 1, 2010 death of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.


On the videotape recording of his interview with a police detective, Daniel Baker says he thinks he swung the bat twice but admits it could have been more.

Baker, 23, of Deerfield, was near the end of a questioning session in which he admits beating Marina Aksman, 50, to death in her Vernon Hills home on April 1, 2010.

The recording of the interview is being played this week in Lake County Circuit Court because Baker's attorneys want to have anything their client said to police about the murder barred from being used against him.

In a police station in Cut Bank, Mont., where Baker was arrested after fleeing with the victim's car and her daughter, Kristina Aksman, Baker describes a highly dysfunctional relationship with the entire Aksman family.

Kristina's mother, father and older sister hated him, Baker tells Det. Charles Schletz of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, and worked tirelessly to end his relationship with Kristina.

Kristina also put effort into destroying their relationship, Baker claims on the recording, by lying to him, cheating on him and physically abusing him at times.

"But I kept going back, again and again, because I loved her so much," Baker tells Schletz. "It's like I was trapped."

During the early morning hours of April 1, 2010, Baker crashed his car into the front of the Aksman house, then smashed his way through the back door with a baseball bat.

Baker tells Schletz he brought the bat with him because he feared a confrontation with Kristina's father, but it was Kristina and her mother who responded to the commotion at the rear of their house.

In a sequence of events Baker is unable to fully explain, the three wind up in a bedroom on the first floor of the house where he first attacks Marina.

Baker stands as he shows Schletz how he first swung the bat at the woman's knees, then swung it at her head.

While admitting he hit the woman, Baker cautions Schletz that his memory is cloudy.

"You've asked me so many times, I don't know if I am saying the same things twice," Baker says. "It's so blurry; it's like we are trying to force something out."

Schletz explains to Baker that blood splatter evidence taken from inside the room indicates the victim was struck with the bat at least five times.

Baker does not challenge the idea he struck the woman more than twice and claims it could be a result of his martial arts training.

"That's the problem, I am not going to stop when I am like that," he tells Schletz. "I am going to swing until I am safe."

Baker's attorneys claim the statements should not be used against their client because police took advantage of his fragile mental and emotional state to obtain them.

Circuit Judge Fred Foreman said he will schedule arguments on the motion for later this month.

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