Advertisement:
Post a story

Crime ›
News ›

Baker: I was ‘possessed’ during killing in Vernon Hills

Daniel Baker, 21, charged with killing his girlfriend's mother, Marina Aksman, is escorted by Chuck Schletz of Lake County Major Crimes Task Force and Waukegan Police Department from the Glacier County jail in Montana to the Great Falls airport where he will board a flight for Chicago. (Bryce Harman, For the Tribune)

Daniel Baker, 21, charged with killing his girlfriend's mother, Marina Aksman, is escorted by Chuck Schletz of Lake County Major Crimes Task Force and Waukegan Police Department from the Glacier County jail in Montana to the Great Falls airport where he will board a flight for Chicago. (Bryce Harman, For the Tribune)

Daniel Baker asked his interrogator for a hug and sat crying softly in his arms. Then he said he thinks he was “possessed” when he crashed his vehicle into his girlfriend’s Vernon Hills home and then allegedly beat her mother to death with a baseball bat.

A video of that interrogation was shown in a Lake County courtroom Wednesday and, prosecutors say Baker went onto confess to killing Marina Aksman on April 1, 2010, and then fleeing in her car with her daughter, Kristina Aksman.

“I remember driving up to the house, and the next thing I wake up and there’s a boom,” said Baker, now 23. “It’s all like a dream to me. I felt like I was watching myself.”

As the Deerfield man awaits his murder trial, Baker’s attorneys are seeking to have such statements excluded from the proceedings. That includes his confession to members of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force in Glacier County, Mont., where Baker and his girlfriend were picked up for speeding and other traffic violations days after Aksman’s death.

During the portion of the interrogation video shown Wednesday, Baker quickly tried to point the finger at his girlfriend, whom he called his fiancée, and her family.

“I’ve been abused beyond belief by the whole family,” he said. “She’s got an anger problem. She’s been talking about killing her parents for a long time, and it scared me.”

But Baker’s interrogator, task force member and Waukegan Police Det. Charles Schletz, quickly deflected Baker and got him back on track to talk about himself.

“Do you remember her mom calling you (that day)?” Schletz asked.

“I think she said that we were never going to see each other again and that I am bi-polar,” Baker said.

After asking for and receiving a hug from Schletz, Baker broke down in tears, as Schletz calmly told him: “You know she already forgives you. I forgive you.”

Baker said repeatedly that he didn’t know what happened. Then talked about becoming overcome and possessed with anger that he can’t explain.

“I feel that same way right now, I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I never blow up. I am a calm person.”

Baker said he had grown afraid of Marina Aksman.

“I can tell you that she lied a lot and tried getting us in trouble with the police a lot,” he said. “I’m just telling you that I am getting more and more scared of her getting me into more and more trouble. I kind of felt like everything was turning into Nazi Germany and I was like ‘Where’s everybody’s rights?’”

The day before the interrogation, Baker was picked up in Glacier County, 20 miles from the Canadian border, going 84 in a 70 mph zone, officials said. Baker would not stop, and a high-speed chase ensued, authorities said. Five vehicles assisted and by utilizing a “box maneuver,” they were eventually able to stop him.

Suspected of DUI but cleared by a blood test, Baker was charged with multiple traffic violations, and he and Kristina Aksman were held on charges of criminal endangerment while waiting for authorities from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force to arrive. Neither was allowed to make a phone call.

On Wednesday, Baker, whose appearance changes almost every time he is in court, wore his hair, beard and mustache, long and unkempt. At times, he closed his eyes while the hearing was going on, while at other times he continuously stared into the ceiling with squinting eyes. Several times during the video he said derogatory remarks to his attorney about the interrogator, loud enough to be heard by others in the courtroom.

Baker has been found mentally fit to stand trial, but his attorneys intend to demonstrate that he was insane when he committed the crime.

The hearing is expected to continue Thursday with more of the five hour confession tape and continued testimony of Schletz.

Share this story

Recommended stories