Jurors will be able to hear Daniel Baker tell police on videotape that he hit his girlfriend's mother in the head with a baseball bat before fleeing with the teen for nearly five days in 2010, a judge ruled Monday.
Lake County circuit court Judge Fred Foreman denied the defense motion to suppress the confession that police say Baker made to detectives while he was in custody in Montana.
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Baker, now 23, of Deerfield, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Marina Aksman of Vernon Hills on April 1, 2010.
According to prosecutors, Baker crashed his car into the front of the Aksman residence in Gregg's Landing, smashed his way through the back door with a baseball bat, then beat Aksman because she was trying to end the relationship Baker was having with her daughter, Kristina.
After the murder, Baker allegedly stole Aksman's 2009 Nissan Rogue, took Kristina and drove across country until the two were finally stopped in Cut Bank, Mont., according to prosecutors.
Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix argued Baker's rights were not violated when he confessed to killing Aksman, and added his videotape confession was voluntary.
But, defense attorney Edward Genson contends Baker was under duress and should have had a lawyer present when he told detectives he struck Aksman, 50, more than twice with the bat in a first floor bedroom of Aksman's home.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling and look forward to moving the case to trial," Fix said after the decision was handed down Monday.
Baker was near the end of a questioning session with detectives when he admitted on the videotape that he swung the bat twice but admits it could have been more, according to prosecutors.
The recording of the interview was played in Lake County circuit court during the past several months while both sides argued whether the confession should be played to a jury.
The two sides are expected to return to court June 29 to set a date for trial, Fix said.