WCSJ Photo

WCSJ Photo 

A two-day sentencing hearing has been scheduled for a convicted murderer in Grundy County. Kasim Baker, 33, of Joliet was convicted of Second Degree Murder by a jury in Grundy County on September 23rd.

Baker stabbed Daniel Smiley, 65, of Morris 36 times with a kitchen knife at an apartment complex at 815 Twilight Drive in Morris on March 8th of 2019. Baker and Smiley knew each other from a mutual acquaintance.

After the stabbing, Baker stole a 50 inch television and sold it for three dubs of crack cocaine in Joliet. Baker turned himself to the Joliet Police Department nearly two weeks after the crime.

During the jury trial, prosecutors called several witnesses and played a portion of a police interview between the Morris Police Department and Baker. The Grundy County Public Defender’s Office called Baker to the stand who stated Smiley came after him with a knife.

Baker said he grabbed the knife with his left hand and then started stabbing Smiley in self-defense. The jury foreman told WCSJ although they were convinced Baker committed the murder, but didn't feel it was planned in advance, which is the reason for the second degree murder conviction.

During a court appearance in front of Grundy County Judge Lance Peterson on October 15th, a two-day sentencing hearing was scheduled for January 14th at 1:30 p.m. and will last all day on January 15th.

Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland told WCSJ after the trial that Baker could serve anywhere from 4 to 20 years in prison or probation or conditional discharge up to 48 months. 

Helland said second degree murder occurs when the state proved that a first degree murder occurred but mitigating factors existed. In this case, the jury found that the mitigating factor that existed was that the victim substantially provoked the use of force and the defendant's reaction was unreasonable. It was right in the jury instructions.

At the sentencing hearing, the Grundy County State's Attorney's Office will be asking for the maximum sentence allowed by law.

The final decision on the sentencing will be determined by Grundy County Judge Lance Peterson.