Victim's daughter takes stand in murder trial; judge denies motion for mistrial

October 18, 2012 3:06:33 AM PDT
A Vernon Hills woman took the stand in the murder trial of Daniel Baker, detailing how her boyfriend allegedly murdered her mother.

"He hit her on the knee and on the face," said Kristina Aksman, 22.

Aksman described the events that led to her then boyfriend, Daniel Baker, allegedly beating her mother to death with a baseball bat in their Vernon Hills home two and a half years ago.

"I heard my mom scream for help," Aksman added. "She fell on the bed...He was trying to light her on fire, but lighter didn't work."

On day two of the trial, Aksman, who is developmentally challenged, took the stand for the prosecution as they try to establish that Baker, now 24, was fully aware of the criminality of his actions, both with respect to the murder and the aftermath when he ran off with Aksman before being apprehended in Montana two days later.

"Some of these witnesses are some of the most challenging witnesses in my career I've had to put on, but we all feel pretty good about how it's gone so far," said Patricia Fix, Lake County prosecutor.

Defense attorney Ed Genson has argued that Baker, while responsible for Marina Aksman's death, is not guilty by reason of insanity.

But on Wednesday, it seemed that the defense might change tactics. Before Kristina Aksman took the stand, Genson asked for a mistrial on the basis that Baker doesn't want to be called crazy and now says that he didn't do it.

Judge Daniel Shanes denied the motion and Aksman was allowed to testify. But then as Baker was led out of the courtroom for a lunch break he was overheard loudly telling Genson, "I'm not going to take the blame...I wasn't even in the house."

Fix spoke to ABC7 after the incident said they are prepared to go forward regardless of what defense Baker's attorney's pursue.

"We try to take it one step at a time and be as prepared as we can for whatever the defendants' options are going to be," said Fix. "We've been prepared for a defense of insanity, but we've also been prepared for the defense of 'I didn't do it.'"

Fix also introduced into evidence the baseball bat which was allegedly used in the murder, along with an answering machine message in which minutes before the incident Baker is heard threatening Kristina Aksman's parents.

Prosecutors say they have a few more witnesses and expect to wrap up by Friday.


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