Sentencing in Vernon Hills murder delayed until May
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The sentencing of a Deerfield man found guilty of murdering a Vernon Hills woman has been delayed again to consider his mental fitness.
A daylong court hearing is set for May 6 to determine if Daniel Baker, 24, can understand any potential prison sentence he faces. Sentencing has been delayed a couple of times now, most recently to give psychiatrists time to meet with Baker.
Psychiatrists have determined Baker suffers from attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourettes syndrome and various forms of schizophrenic disorders.
He also suffers from delusions and hallucinations, wrote Peter Nierman of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Baker also tends to make grandiose statements that he believes, such as that he soon will be set free from jail despite the guilty verdict, Nierman added.
Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes found Baker guilty but mentally ill of murdering 50-year-old Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills home on April 1, 2010.
Evidence showed Baker became enraged when Aksman tried to end a relationship he was having with her daughter. He drove to her home in the middle of the night, broke in using a baseball bat, then bludgeoning Aksman to death before leaving with her daughter for four days. They were picked up in Montana.
After being found guilty in October 2012, Baker was due to be sentenced in front of Shanes six weeks ago. But defense attorney Ed Gensen requested Baker be re-examined by psychiatrists and another ruling on his fitness be held.
Gensen was not in court Monday due to a family issue. Baker was represented by Megan Tomlinson, another attorney from Gensen's Chicago law firm of Gensen and Gillespie.
Prior to Baker's October trial, experts testified he was unfit to understand the charges against him. Shanes rejected those defense petitions.
If Baker is deemed mentally fit in May, it is conceivable the sentencing would take place the same day. Shanes said that decision would be made the day of the fitness hearing to determine if both parties will be ready to proceed.
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