Man convicted of killing girlfriend's mom denied new trial
A Lake County judge rejected a new trial request Monday for a man convicted in the 2010 killing of his girlfriend's mother in Vernon Hills.
Daniel Baker, 24, of Deerfield, now must prepare for his Jan. 9 sentencing hearing, at which he will face between 20 years to life in prison.
Earlier this month, Judge Daniel Shanes found Baker guilty but mentally ill of first-degree murder for bludgeoning to death 50-year-old Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills home on April 1, 2010. Baker had agreed to have the judge decide his case instead of a jury.
Shanes rejected Baker's insanity claim, ruling that momentary rage does not fall under the law's definition of insanity.
Among his findings in denying Baker's request for a new trial Monday, Shanes said Lake County Judge Fred Foreman correctly rejected a motion to bar from trial a videotaped statement Baker gave police after his arrest. In the statement Baker confesses that he hit Aksman in the head with a baseball bat before fleeing with her daughter.
Baker and Kristina Aksman went on a four-day drive that ended with his arrested in Montana. He later admitted to the murder during a five-hour interview with investigators, prosecutors said.
Trial testimony indicated Baker killed Aksman because she tried to end the relationship he was having with her daughter. Kristina Aksman was not charged.
Defense attorney Edward Genson also raised questions Monday about Baker's mental state ahead of the Jan. 9 sentencing. Baker suffers from multiple mental disorders and is being held at the Lake County jail while awaiting sentencing.
"He still is and continues to be incompetent," Genson said of Baker.
Shanes responded that mental fitness is "a fluid concept."
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