Now a convicted killer, Bakana returns to McLean County

Michael Bakana is returned to the McLean County Jail.
Michael Bakana is returned to the McLean County Jail.(McLean County Jail)
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 11:44 PM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON (25News Now) - A man from Normal is back in the custody of McLean County authorities after he fled the state instead of showing up for his murder trial.

Michael Bakana, 44, was tried anyway and found guilty of first-degree murder for killing a woman outside a Downtown Bloomington bar in 2021. Bakana was also convicted of attempted murder for seriously wounding another woman. He claimed self-defense, but the jury earlier this month rejected that argument.

Bakana was free after posting a $200,000 cash bond. He loses that money for cutting loose from his GPS ankle bracelet and leaving the state on the day his trial started.

The U.S. Marshals said they arrested Bakana in Lexington, Kentucky the same day he was convicted.

Last week, Bakana decided not to fight extradition to Illinois, and Wednesday, Bakana was brought back to the McLean County Jail.

Sheriff Matthew Lane said he sent two “experienced” deputies to pick-up Bakana in a sheriff’s department vehicle.

Bakana faces 45-years to natural life in prison for the convictions, while the state’s attorney’s office decides whether to file new charges for violating his bond.

Bakana’s sentencing before Judge Casey Costigan is scheduled for June 22 at 11 a.m.