UPDATE (5:54 p.m.) — The judge has allowed the defense to argue self-defense on Bakana’s behalf.
The state wanted to discuss a lesser charge of second-degree murder but the judge has denied that because Bakana has to be present to accept the charge.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Prosecutors have rested their case and the jury has been sent home as day three wound down in the Michael Bakana murder trial.
With Bakana still on the lam, having skipped bail the first day of trial, his attorney will try to prove that he acted in self-defense. That could come first thing Friday morning.
Team Bakana are trying to prove the judge their client acted in self-defense. If the judge agrees that there is such evidence, then jurors could hear that argument during closings.
Bakana is accused of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in relation to the early morning incident on Jan. 30, 2021, that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Mariah Petracca outside Daddios, a bar in Downtown Bloomington. A friend of hers, Bibianna Cornejo, was also shot in the arm and her side. She suffered permanent nerve damage to her left arm.
While he wasn’t in the courtroom, his family was there.
Prosecutors are contending the case is simple, that Bakana got angry and attacked the women after they were bickering outside the club. The defense team countered their client was defending himself against two women who were larger than him.
On Thursday, prosecutors played portions of Bakana’s interview with a Bloomington police detective. In that video, he mentioned several times he wasn’t angry that the two women were hurdling slurs and curse words at him. Rather, he told detectives, he was scared because he had been beaten up by women in the past.
Other witnesses have testified that Bakana seemed shocked in the wake of the shooting, saying “What did I do?” and “What have I done?”
If convicted, he faces at least 20 and possibly decades more behind bars.