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updated: 10/4/2012 4:52 PM

Court to rule on murder suspect Baker's fitness for trial

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  • Daniel Baker

      Daniel Baker

 
 

Attorneys for a 24-year-old Deerfield man accused of killing his girlfriend's mother will argue Friday he is not mentally fit to stand trial.

A psychologist who visited Daniel Baker in the Lake County jail this week said the murder suspect needs medication to help him understand the trial that is about to take place and the allegations against him, said defense attorney Ed Gensen.

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When Baker initially was booked into the jail, he was issued medication to help him with mental disorders, Gensen said. However, he added, family members learned the medication was causing adverse affects, and requested Baker be taken off the pills.

But, now, a year later, Gensen said a psychologist requested Baker be put back on the undisclosed medication so he could better understand the criminal proceedings and charges against him.

"The medication will help him in regards to understanding this case," Gensen explained Thursday to Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes. "The difficulty with him is that he is good sometimes, but bad others."

The latest move puts into question whether Baker will stand trial as scheduled next week for first-degree murder in the April 2010 slaying of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.

Prosecutors allege that Baker, upset that Aksman was trying to end a relationship he was having with her daughter Kristina, used an aluminum baseball bat to break into the 50-year-old woman's home and bludgeon her to death.

Baker then fled with Kristina Aksman, then 20, for four days until he was arrested in Montana.

He is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 9, but Gensen has been attempting to postpone the proceedings.

Shanes said he would determine Friday morning if a hearing should be held to determine if Baker is competent to stand trial. If he decides a hearing is necessary, Shanes said he will conduct it Friday afternoon order to keep the court call on track.

If it's determined that Baker is unfit, the trial would be delayed until a court determines he is competent. Baker remains in custody without bail in Lake County jail.

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