Judge orders new mental review for Baker
Updated: March 7, 2013 10:13AM
Renewed questions about Daniel Baker’s mental condition stalled his Tuesday sentencing for the 2010 bludgeoning murder of his girlfriend’s mother.
Following a November trial marked by his erratic behavior and courtroom outbursts, Baker was found guilty, but mentally ill, in the baseball bat slaying of Vernon Hills resident Marina Aksman.
Baker last month filed a rambling, handwritten motion blaming Aksman’s daughter — his one-time girlfriend — for the killing and asking that his conviction be tossed out so he could open a surf shop and fast-food restaurant in Chicago.
Attorneys for the 24-year-old Deerfield man — who faces a possible life sentence for Aksman’s killing — are asking for a new mental fitness hearing before he is sentenced.
Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes didn’t approve that request, but ordered Baker to undergo a new mental evaluation.
“It can’t hurt to have another opinion on that matter,” said Shanes, who just before Baker’s trial had ruled him mentally fit for trial.
During the hearing, a handcuffed Baker politely asked if the judge had made a decision on his request to toss out his murder conviction.
“I’m not ruling on them until we take care of a few other things,” Shanes told Baker, who remains jailed until his sentencing.