Day 3 of testimony for prosecutors in the Kasim Baker murder jury trial was held today. The 32-year-old Baker of Joliet allegedly stabbed Daniel Smiley, 65, of Morris several times with a kitchen knife at an apartment complex in the 800 block of Twilight Drive in Morris on March 8th of 2019. Baker and Smiley knew each other from a mutual acquaintance who previously introduced them.
Forensic pathologist Amanda Youmans testified that Smiley was stabbed 36 times throughout the body including but not limited to the head, neck, chest, hands, thighs, lungs and heart. She also said Smiley had defensive wounds to the hands and forearms. Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland displayed to the jury 43 graphic photos that showed the wounds on Smiley’s body.
During cross examination, Michael Olewinski from the Grundy County Public Defender’s Office, asked Youmans if the wounds could have been committed by more than one person and one knife. Youman’s said it was possible. She also stated she did not know what position the attacker was in or what order the stab wounds occurred.
Meanwhile, 24-year-old Kylina Verbeck of Joliet, who has a past criminal record and admitted to smoking crack testified for prosecutors. Verbeck told the jury that she and Baker were at a drug house in Joliet when she noticed an injury to Kasim’s hand on March 8th. Baker told Verbeck that he robbed and killed Smiley.
While at the drug house, Baker also told Verbeck that he cut himself on the knife and should not have committed the murder. Grundy County Public Defender Gary Dobbs brought up Verbeck’s past drug use, criminal history and lies to the Morris Police Department during cross examination.
Joliet Police Officer Brent Pocewicz testified that he responded to an address in Joliet where Kasim Baker was at and saw where Baker was bleeding from the left hand on March 8th. Baker told Pocewicz that he got stabbed in the hand during a drug deal gone wrong. Four photos showing Baker and his injuries while at Silver Cross Hospital were submitted as evidence.
Daniel Garcia a Crime Scene Investigator with the Illinois State Police testified during the trial. Garcia said he was called to the scene to take photos and collect evidence. More than 60 photos of the crime scene were shown to the jury. During processing of the scene, Garcia found blood throughout the living room and other areas, but most notably on the six-inch knife and a soap bottle. The knife, soap bottle and other items were sent to the lab for testing.
Earlier this year, prosecutors said Baker’s DNA was found on a bottle of soap and knife. During cross examination, Dobbs displayed to the jury a photo that was taken by Garcia of a lamp shade with blood on it near the front entrance of the apartment. Garcia told Dobbs the lamp shade was not tested for DNA. In addition, Dobbs displayed a photo to the jury of two knives missing from a knife block in the kitchen. Garcia commented that no other knife was found at the scene.
Twelve jurors and three alternate jurors were selected during the jury selection process on Monday as they will hear more from prosecutors on Monday, September 21st. The defense could present their case on Tuesday. For a recap of day two testimony, visit link below.