Digital Access

Digital Access
Access morrisherald-news.com and all Shaw Local content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Mail Delivery

Mail Delivery
We’ve got you covered! Get the best in local news, sports, community events, with focus on what’s coming up for the weekend. Weekly packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in Morris and Grundy County.
Premium

Baker concludes defense testimony

Closing arguments set for Wednesday

The apartment on Twilight Drive where 65-year-old Daniel Smiley was found dead March 8, 2019. Kasim Baker, 33, of Joliet, testified Tuesday that he stabbed Smiley six times in self-defense and that Baker and Alex Perez stole Smiley's television and sold it for crack.
The apartment on Twilight Drive where 65-year-old Daniel Smiley was found dead March 8, 2019. Kasim Baker, 33, of Joliet, testified Tuesday that he stabbed Smiley six times in self-defense and that Baker and Alex Perez stole Smiley's television and sold it for crack.

MORRIS — Kasim Baker, a 33-year-old Joliet man charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of 65-year-old Daniel Smiley of Morris, continued testimony in his own defense Tuesday afternoon at the Grundy County Courthouse.

Earlier in the day, questioning by Baker's attorney, Grundy County Public Defender Gary Dobbs, had reached the point at which Baker and Alex Perez arrived at Smiley's apartment on March 8, 2019, the night Smiley was killed.

Baker testified that he and Perez had each brought some crack and a crack pipe to the apartment, as Baker knew that Smiley did not have one of his own. Baker said that he and Smiley shared a pipe, while Perez used his own.

Baker then said that he and Smiley went into Smiley's bedroom because Baker had another bag of crack that he did not want to share with Perez. He said that he and Smiley stayed in the bedroom for about 20 minutes smoking the crack.

When they came out of the bedroom, Baker testified that Perez was standing near the door to Smiley's apartment with Smiley's television in his hands. According to Baker's testimony, Smiley asked what the [expletive] was going on. Baker said he was between Perez and Smiley and turned around to find Smiley about a foot away from Baker, holding out a kitchen knife.

Baker said he grabbed the knife, which sliced his hand, before turning the knife around and stabbing Smiley with it "six or seven times." Earlier in the trial, forensic pathologist Dr. Amanda Youmans testified that Smiley had been stabbed 36 times. Baker said he did not know how the other stab wounds occurred.

Baker said that he and Smiley fell to the ground, at which point he got up and went to the kitchen to try and rinse off his hand, which was bleeding from the cut he had sustained. He said he tried to pick up the bottle of soap next to the sink, but his hand was injured so badly he could not grab it.

He testified that he was "shocked and panicking" and that he wanted to get out of the area. He said that Perez gave him the keys to Perez's van and Perez told him to pull the van up to the apartment entrance. He then said that Perez put the television in the back seat of the van.

According to Baker, the two men then drove back to Joliet to a crack house known as Big Al's house, where they sold the television for three $20 bags of crack. They then went to Perez's mother's house and Perez went inside, but Baker said he did not come back out. Baker then spotted a neighbor and asked her to call the ambulance because his hand was cut.

Baker said that three police cars and an ambulance showed up, and he was transported to Silver Cross Hospital, where he told Joliet police that he had cut his hand in a drug deal gone bad.

Baker testified that he had no explanation why he lied to the police. He said he just didn't want to tell what actually happened. Baker said that he like Smiley and that Smiley was "cool." He said he defended himself and was scared.

Assistant State's Attorney Mike Quinlan cross-examined Baker. During the questioning, Baker said that he had met Smiley for the first time on Feb. 8, 2019. He had also visited Smiley on March 1, 2019 for about three hours and that he had seen that Smiley had a flat-screen television.

Quinlan asked Baker if he called for an ambulance to go to Smiley's apartment. Baker replied that he did not. He also said that Smiley was breathing when he and Perez left the scene. He reiterated that he only recalled stabbing Smiley six times and did not learn of how many times he had been stabbed until his attorney told him following the discovery phase of the trial.

Following the cross-examination, the defense rested its case.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning before the jury meets to decide a verdict.

Loading more