Cynthia Baker has been convicted of murder after abusing her 8-year-old stepdaughter, Rica Rountree.
What We Know:
- Back in May, just four months after Rica died in a Peoria hospital, Baker was arrested on charges of first-degree murder. Rica died from peritonitis, which is caused by ruptures of the intestine, forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton testified.
- A McLean County jury found 41-year-old Cynthia Baker guilty of murder, aggravated battery, endangering the life of a child and domestic battery in the death of Rica Rountree, WGLT reported.
- According to WEEK, prosecutors showed videos during the trail of Baker and the young girl’s father, Richard Rountree, viciously abusing her. This included one video that showed Baker kneeing Rica in the back and then slamming her head into a wall.
- “For most, it’s unthinkable but for Rica, it was normal. In the 407 Stanhope residence, Rica was treated as less than as this defendant’s punching bag and her pain served as entertainment for the entire family,” advised Erika Reynolds, the McLean County assistant state attorney. Rica’s abuse became so common that other children in the house calmly walked by as she was being physically abused.
- Ann Simmons, Rica’s mother said her daughter had been let down by those around her. “Everybody failed her. I failed her.” Simmons is currently serving 2.5 years in prison for a forgery case and for failing to complete the terms of her probation on an aggravated DUI charge.
- Neither Baker nor Rica’s father testified during trial and a text message thread between the two revealed that there were complaints of Rica being in the home. It was also discovered that her hair was unkempt and her clothes were not as nice as those of Baker’s other daughter.
Baker could face life in prison because the jury found the murder to be heinous and with wanton cruelty. Her sentencing is set for February 3rd.