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Baker insane at time of fatal beating, psychiatrist testifies

Updated: October 22, 2012 6:10PM

Beset by three serious mental illnesses, Daniel Baker was an insane “nerd on steroids” when he allegedly beat his girlfriend’s mother to death with a baseball bat, a psychiatrist testified Monday.

His mental problems made the 24-year-old Deerfield man “an extremely eccentric individual” who was abnormally sensitive about appearing “odd,” said Dr. Alexander Obolsky, the first defense witness called by Baker’s attorneys.

“Mr. Baker is a nerd on steroids,” Obolsky said.

Baker is charged with fatally beating 50-year-old Marina Aksman in her Vernon Hills home after first ramming his car into the front of her house.

Lake County prosecutors contend Baker carried out the April 1, 2010, attack because he was irate after Aksman moved to end his romance with her 20-year-old, developmentally disabled daughter.

Baker almost took the witness himself Monday, saying he wanted to “clear up some misunderstandings” about Aksman’s slaying.

“I’m following my attorneys’ advice to get on the witness stand and clear up some misunderstandings,” Baker told Judge Daniel Shanes, who is hearing the trial without a jury.

Defense attorney Edward Genson, however, already had told Shanes he had advised Baker not to testify. After a brief discussion with Baker, Genson said Baker had decided not to immediately take the witness stand.

It’s not the first time Baker has acted unusual during his trial.

Last week, he abruptly told Genson and co-counsel Blaire Dalton to stop arguing he was insane at the time of the murder, instead insisting he had not killed Aksman.

But Obolsky said his assessments showed Baker suffered from two types of personality disorders and another cognitive disorder that left him insane at the time of the attack.

Baker thinks other people can project their voices into his mind but also believes he can predict the future, Obolsky said.

“He has many strange and bizarre ideas having to do with voices and thoughts,” Obolsky testified.

When Marina Aksman cut off Baker’s romance with her daughter, Kristina, he became enraged because that relationship made him appear to be “a normal individual,” Obolsky testified.

Earlier, prosecutors wrapped up their case by presenting gruesome autopsy photos depicting the severe head and facial injuries that killed Marina Aksman.

The blows were so powerful they shattered her nose, eyes, jaw — driving one tooth into her brain, another into her windpipe — and damaged her brain, a pathologist testified.

“There are extensive injuries,” said Dr. Eupil Choi, who conducted Aksman’s autopsy.

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