UPDATE: (5:11 p.m.)– Michael Bakana has been captured and taken into custody without incident in Lexington, Kentucky, according to the Bloomington police Facebook.

“The hard work of the Bloomington Police Officers, Detectives and staff to bring justice to the victim and the victim’s family is always the highest focus,” Bloomington Chief of Police Jamal Simington said. “I applaud them for their diligent efforts and the many work hours a case of this magnitude takes. Concerning Bakana’s capture by the United States Marshal Service, the collaboration and commitment to bringing defendants to justice is commendable.”

UPDATE: (4:20 p.m.) Michael Bakana has been found guilty of all charges connected to the Jan. 30, 2021, shooting death of 22-year-old Mariah Petracca outside Daddios, a downtown Bloomington nightclub.

He was also found guilty of shooting but not killing her friend, Bibianna Cornejo, who suffered permanent nerve damage to her left arm. 

Specifically, he was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery.

Bakana’s bond was revoked following the jury’s verdicts which after about two hours of deliberations. The bond revocation is largely academic as Bakana skipped bail and has been absent for his weeklong trial.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. When he is sentenced on June 22, he faces at least 35 years in prison and possibly decades more.

Members of Petracca’s family declined to comment on camera but said they were relieved with the verdict. Still, they said, “with (Bakana) on the run, it is not complete justice. He needs to be put behind bars. That will give us complete closure.”

This story will be updated.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s now in the hands of a McLean County jury as to the guilt or innocence of a Normal man accused of killing a woman and injuring her friend two years ago outside a Downtown Bloomington bar.

Jurors will have to decide if Michael Bakana, 44, of Normal, acted in self-defense as his team of attorneys claim or did he act out of revenge as prosecutors alleged in their closing statements. It’s even harder as the panel of 12 never got to hear from Bakana.

Deliberations began shortly before 11:45 a.m.

He’s been absent the entire trial which was held without him; a fact that McLean County prosecutors argued could be taken as “consciousness of guilt.”

But Clyde Guilamo, who represents Bakana, countered that it didn’t matter if his client was sitting in the room. He noted defendants are “not required to prove their own innocence” and in this case, it was about “alcohol, hatred and violence.”

Bakana faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in connection with the early morning shooting on Jan. 30, 2021, killing of 22-year-old Mariah Petracca outside Daddios.

Petracca suffered four gunshot wounds. Her friend, Bibianna Cornejo was also shot in the arm and her side. She suffered permanent nerve damage to her left arm. 

The defense team presented testimony during the case that their client was bombarded with racial slurs and curse words by Petracca and her friend just before the shooting.

Prosecutors, however, disagreed sharply and said the case was straightforward.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Horve said the case wasn’t about self-defense but rather, “revenge and retaliation.” It was “first-degree murder.”

The judge refused to allow arguments for second-degree murder, noting Bakana wasn’t present to ask for the lesser charge.

Second-degree murder typically occurs when a person — in this case, Bakana — thought they had to use deadly force, but that belief was unreasonable. In such cases, self-defense is a common argument. 

It matters because second-degree carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and is probationable. Additionally, the charge allows a person to earn day for day “good-time” credit. That is in sharp contrast to first-degree murder where a minimum sentence starts at 20 years, there is no probation possible, and a person must serve 100% of their time.

Bakana’s attorneys, however, are allowed to argue their client acted in self-defense, however, and acquit him of all charges.