BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Testimony got underway in the trial of a man who is accused of shooting a woman in early 2021 outside a Downtown bar.
Michael Bakana skipped bail and is not present at his trial in McLean County Circuit Court. The judge in the case ruled prosecutors could, if they chose, to tell jurors his absence is a consciousness (admission) of guilt. So far, the state has not used that argument.
Bakana is accused of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in relation to the January 2021 killing of 22-year-old Mariah Petracca outside Daddios, a bar in Downtown Bloomington.
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 that their client was defending himself against two women who was larger than him.
A half-dozen witnesses took the stand, including Petracca’s father who said his daughter was working to get her GED and had a son who is now 7.
Another witness, Bibianna Cornejo, who was also shot that night, told jurors she and Petracca had been drinking that night. The two had been reportedly kicked out of the night club for dancing in a prohibited area.
Bakana’s attorney grilled her, asking if she had provoked Bakana with racial slurs and curse words or if she spit on him. Cornejo replied she didn’t remember much from that evening. She said she only remembers waking up in the hospital a few days later.
An employee at a nearby tavern saw the trio arguing. Another witness, a Bloomington detective, said surveillance footage shows them arguing and then Bakana walking off. It’s believed that’s when he went to his car to get his firearm. When he returned, the footage showed him being shoved by Petracca and that’s when the shots rang out.
Petracca suffered four gunshot wounds. Cornejo was also shot in the arm and her side. She suffered permanent nerve damage to her left arm.
The trial is expected to continue Thursday. If convicted, he faces at least 20 and possibly decades more behind bars.