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updated: 9/20/2012 5:00 PM

Attorneys question Baker fitness to stand trial in killing

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  • Daniel Baker

    Daniel Baker


Attorneys for Daniel Baker are again questioning whether the 24-year-old Deerfield man is psychologically fit to stand trial for murder.

Attorney Ed Gensen said in court Thursday that statements made by Baker in recent weeks have caused him to wonder whether his client understands the gravity of the situation he faces.

Gensen asked Lake County Associate Judge Daniel Shanes for a continuance of Baker's scheduled Oct. 9 trial for the April 2010 murder of Marina Aksman of Vernon Hills.

Shanes later ruled that the trial should proceed as planned, but that both sides should meet Oct. 5 to discuss whether Baker is ready to stand trial.

Gensen wouldn't say he was requesting the delay in order to have Baker retested. However, he said if the continuance was granted, he would bring in another psychologist to determine if Baker is fit to stand trial.

"I feel compelled to have this examination take place," Gensen said. "I think we need to see if he is competent enough to stand trial."

Baker is accused of killing the 50-year-old Aksman with an aluminum baseball bat because she was trying to end his relationship with her daughter, Kristina, then 20, authorities said.

Gensen said Baker has not been cooperating with him in preparation of his defense in recent weeks. Baker also believes he will go home no matter the outcome of his trial, Gensen said, and that he has refused to have a jury trial and is insisting on a bench trial.

But, Assistant States Attorney Patricia Fix argued that Baker was declared fit to stand trial in spring 2011 by psychologists from both sides.

"Two doctors have found Mr. Baker fit to stand trial since spring of last year, and numerous doctors have visited him in jail within the last year," Fix said. "None of them have expressed to the court that there is a doubt whether he is competent to stand trial."

Aside from the psychological tests, Gensen added, issues at his law firm are making it hard for him to be ready for the murder trial scheduled to take place in three weeks.

"I want to win this case for my client," he told Shanes. "I want to do a good job, a perfect job, and in order to do that, I need the additional time."

Fix said Gensen has had 2 years to prepare for trial, and that the family of Marina Aksman deserves to finally have the case in court. "It's time for this case to go to trial," Fix said. "It has been pending for the last two and a half years. The victims deserve their day in court."

Police say Baker confessed to Aksman's murder after his arrest. He remains held without bail in Lake County jail.

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