As the murder trial of a Deerfield man accused of killing a Vernon Hills woman with a baseball bat begins today, pretrial drama ended Monday as Daniel Baker chose not to fire attorney Ed Genson and be tried by a judge rather than jury, according to the Mundelein Review.
Lake County Criminal Court Judge Daniel Shanes ruled once again Baker was fit to stand trial—he issued the same ruling Friday—after Baker’s mother testified that her son was afraid to come to court Monday because Genson was part of the Russian Mafia, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Earlier: Judge Rule Baker Fit To Stand Trial
Shanes believes Baker has “flights of fancy” and “significant mental health issues,” but thinks he is an intelligent and precocious individual who is mentally fit to stand trial, according to a report in the Daily Herald.
On Friday, Baker said he wanted to fire Genson and represent himself, according to the Tribune story. Though the defendant agreed to keep Genson, he disregarded the lawyer’s advice and decided to have Shane issue a verdict rather than a jury.
“I’d like for a judge to hear the case,” Baker said in the Mundelein review when asked by Shanes.
Baker first raised the issue of being tried by a judge rather than a jury Friday when he also told Shanes he wanted to represent himself, according to Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Patricia Fix who is the lead lawyer for the prosecution.
The prosecution claims Baker bludgeoned Vernon Hills woman Marina Aksman to death because she was trying to end his relationship with Aksman’s daughter in April, 2010, according to Patch reports. Baker and the daughter fled to Montana where they were apprehended six day later.