Murder Motive: Mom Was Breaking Up Couple

By Natalie Martinez
|  Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 6:14 PM CDT
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Daniel Baker, 21, was arrested in Montana Wednesday. He's charged in the murder of Marina Aksman in Vernon Hills last week. Baker may return to Illinois to face charges as early as Wednesday.

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A Vernon Hills woman was beaten to death with a baseball bat because her daughter's boyfriend thought she was trying to break up the couple, say authorities.

"Anger by Daniel Baker as a result of Marina Aksman attempting to end the relationship between Baker and her daughter Kristina" was the motive, said Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller.

Aksman, 50, was found murdered in her Vernon Hills home last week. Police arrested Baker, 21, Monday after finding him speeding in Aksman's car on a Montana road.

Investigators are scheduled to fly back to Chicago with Baker early Friday. A bond hearing is expected in Lake County Circuit Court Friday afternoon.

Aksman's daughter Kristina, 21, who is mentally impaired, was a passenger in the car. Kristina will not be charged.

"There is no evidence that Kristina was involved in the attack on her mother," said Waller.

Prosecutors said they’re not allowed to discuss their reasons for not charging Kristina Aksman before Baker appears in bond court.

A high school friend of Kristina says Kristina has the mental abilities of a 10-year-old and would never have harmed anyone.

"She would never commit a crime like this, she never would have done this," said Ashley Telling. "I think he took advantage of her. I don't think she committed this crime at all. She was just a witness. He just committed the crime and took off and she had to watch all of this."

Telling added: "I'm sure she's scared to death right now."

Police had been searching for the couple since the April 1 incident, and still aren’t sure what circumstances led them to Montana.

"It really is unclear if the two were living in the woods for the last four days or staying in motels," Glacier County, Montana
Undersheriff Jeff Fauque told the Daily Herald.

"But, I'm sure that is something the Lake County Task Force is detailing as we speak."

Fauque said he thought the couple could have been trying to sneak into Canada.

"When you get out into the rural areas of Montana, it's going to be a rarity that you might come across someone from law enforcement," he said. "Understand, the state of Montana is enormous, but we only have 2,200 officers statewide."

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