Daughter’s boyfriend left threatening message before killing woman, prosecutor says
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org October 16, 2012 1:56PM
Updated: November 18, 2012 6:50AM
Enraged that Marina Aksman wanted to end his romance with her daughter, Daniel Baker first left a menacing message on her answering machine.
“Now, there’s going to be big trouble,” Baker said in his message on April 1, 2010, according to Lake County prosecutor Patricia Fix. “Now it’s over. You don’t mess with Daniel Baker.”
He made good on his threat a few minutes later, breaking into Aksman’s home and savagely beating her to death with a 34-inch aluminum baseball bat, Fix said Tuesday as Baker’s murder trial opened.
Aksman, 50, was found later that morning, her battered body sprawled on her bed — the bloodstained black bat lying next to her, several police officers testified.
“There was blood all over the bed, walls and ceiling,” said Jeff Ferdina, a police evidence technician who investigated the gruesome slaying in an upscale Vernon Hills subdivision.
Baker’s attorneys argued he was insane at the time of the killing, hearing nonexistent voices and “paranoid” that Kristina Aksman’s father, Robert, wanted to harm him.
Baker took the bat the Aksman home for his own protection and because he believed his girlfriend was endangered by her own parents, defense attorney Edward Genson said.
“It was a tragic, perfect storm,” said Genson, who had argued as recently as Monday that Baker, 24, is not mentally fit to stand trial for the killing.
Judge Daniel Shanes ruled that Baker was competent to stand trial and honored his request to forgo having a jury decide his fate.
In court Tuesday, Baker frequently leaned forward to loudly question Genson and co-counsel Blaire Dalton about the proceedings.
“If I have a question or objection, what do I do?” he asked Genson at one point.
“You have to ask me,” Genson replied.
Baker also leaned back in his chair, rested his head on a low wall and closed his eyes for several minutes.
Prosecutors insisted that Baker acted rationally during and after the killing, despite ramming his car into the front of the family’s house before breaking in through a rear patio door.
After the slaying, Baker told his girlfriend, Kristina Aksman, 20, to pack some clothes and then drove off with her in her dead mother’s car, Fix said, “taking the sole eyewitness to this horrible murder.”
They were stopped days later in Montana, and Baker was charged with the killing. Kristina Aksman, who authorities say has developmental disabilities, is expected to testify against Baker as soon as Wednesday.