Grundy County’s first murder trial in 20 years is tentatively set to happen in late July. Prosecutors say Kasim Baker, 32, 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 in March of 2019. This comes after Baker allegedly told another individual he was planning to rob Smiley.
Morris Police Chief John Severson said Baker and Smiley knew each other from a mutual acquaintance who previously introduced them. After an investigation, Baker turned himself in to the Joliet Police Department. Prosecutors say Baker’s DNA was found on a bottle of soap and knife which were both left at the apartment complex.
It was announced at a previous court appearance by Grundy County Public Defender Gary Dobbs, that Baker’s defense in this case will be self defense. Baker is facing two counts of first degree murder and has pleaded not guilty. During a motion hearing on May 26th, the defense was granted a motion to preserve all jury questionnaires allowed.
Dobbs also asked Grundy County Judge Lance Peterson if all participants of the jury trial could be tested for Covid-19 during the trial due to Baker’s health condition. During a bond reduction hearing in early April, Dobbs said Baker has Multiple Myloma. Peterson said he would see if more Covid-19 test would be available by then. The two week jury trial will begin on July 20th and could conclude on July 31st.
Grundy County Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Quinlan along with Dobbs and Peterson all agreed that jury selection for the trial could take up the first three days. Baker remains in the Grundy County Jail on a $2 million bond. If convicted on all charges, Baker is looking at 20 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.