A Deerfield man found guilty of murdering the mother of his ex-girlfriend filed a motion on his own in court Tuesday claiming that former girlfriend committed the crime, prosecutors said.
Daniel Baker, 24, who was found guilty but mentally ill Nov. 5 in the first-degree murder of Marina Aksman, 50, of Vernon Hills, blamed the 2010 killing on her daughter, Kristina, in a document filed with Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes, special prosecutor Dave Neal said.
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The eight-page document Baker titled "Not Guilty" forced officials to postpone his sentencing, which was set for Wednesday, and reopened the door for defense attorneys to question whether Baker is competent to be a part of court proceedings.
The entire issue will be decided during a Feb. 5 hearing, where Shanes could sentence Baker to prison, give him a new trial, or send him to a mental health ward.
Neal was brought in to be special prosecutor on the case because new Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim once worked as Baker's defense attorney.
In one of the highest-profile murder trials in Lake County last year, Baker was found guilty but mentally ill of bludgeoning Marina Aksman to death with a baseball bat in her Vernon Hills home on April 1, 2010.
Authorities said Baker became enraged after Marina Aksman tried to force Baker to end the romance he was having with her mentally disabled daughter, Kristina.
After the murder, Baker took Kristina Aksman on a multistate drive that ended when police arrested the two in Montana. Due to her own disabilities, Kristina Aksman was never charged in connection with the murder.
Baker admitted to the murder of Marina Aksman during a five-hour interview with investigators after his arrest in Montana, authorities said.
Throughout the murder trial, Baker's defense attorney, Ed Gensen of Chicago, petitioned the court to find Baker mentally unfit to stand trial. However, Shanes rejected Gensen's attempts even though Baker was boisterous and disruptive during the seven-day trial.
Experts testified that Baker suffers from multiple mental disorders.
Baker filed the motion Tuesday that declared his innocence without Gensen's help. The move prompted Gensen to declare Baker is unfit to attend his own sentencing hearing.
Gensen also told Shanes he had Baker examined by a psychiatrist and would introduce the new findings during the Feb. 5 hearing.