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Michael Bakana's sentencing delayed in Bloomington murder case

Michael Bakana, right, is charged with murder in connection with the 2021 shooting of Mariah Petracca.
Clay Jackson / The Pantagraph (Pool)
Michael Bakana was convicted of murder in connection with the 2021 shooting of Mariah Petracca.

Sentencing was delayed Thursday for a man convicted of killing one woman and severely injuring another in a January 2021 shooting in downtown Bloomington.

The hearing to reschedule a sentencing date was Michael Bakana’s first court appearance since he was captured by authorities in May after he fled to Kentucky instead of attending his trial. Bakana was convicted of the murder in the shooting death of Mariah Petracca and wounding of Bibi Cornejo, both of Bloomington.

The sentencing is now scheduled for July 24, when Judge Casey Costigan will also rule on a defense motion for a new trial.

Dressed in a green jail uniform, Bakana surveyed the courtroom gallery Thursday when he entered and later acknowledged a family member who arrived later at the hearing.

The jury found Bakana guilty of the felony charges on May 12 after a weeklong trial conducted in his absence. The 44-year-old defendant cut off an ankle monitor the morning of the trial and left Illinois for Kentucky, where he was caught by U.S. Marshals hours after he was convicted.

Bakana was freed on bail after posting the required $200,000 of his $2 million bond. Costigan revoked the bond when the defendant failed to come to court for the trial.

On Thursday, defense lawyer Clyde Guillamo asked that the bond be released for legal fees and potential restitution. Guillamo argued that a new state law currently under Illinois Supreme Court review would remove the bond forfeiture provisions as part of a law to end cash bail.

Guillamo was previously paid $50,000 from Bakana’s bond.

Bakana’s family and brother “put the money together to secure his release,” and should not suffer financially because of the forfeiture, said Guillamo.

The defense also argued that Bakana’s return to McLean County was within the 30 days outlined in state law for the reversal of a bond forfeiture.

Prosecutor Jeff Horve challenged the defense claim on Bakana’s return, noting that the defendant was escorted back to Illinois by federal marshals.

The judge has discretion to make a portion of the bond available for restitution and legal fees, said Horve.

The judge took the bond issue under advisement.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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