Cynthia Baker found guilty of murdering 8-year-old girl

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A jury has found Cynthia Baker guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 8-year-old Rica Rountree.

Jurors deliberated for around five hours for two days. Prosecutors said the 42-year-old Normal woman fatally kicked 8-year-old Rica Rountree in the stomach, which led to massive internal injuries that eventually killed her. Additionally, the girl’s autopsy results showed multiple scars, which indicated a months-long span of abuse.

She was also found guilty of three counts of domestic battery, one count of endangering the life of a child, and one count of aggravated battery.

Baker’s bond has also been revoked and she will be sentenced in February of next year. She’s facing up to 200 years in prison.

At the time, Baker was dating the girl’s father, Richard Rountree.

Prosecutors made their case on text messages the couple exchanged, complaining about the girl. They also showed videos from Baker’s cellphone both on Friday and Monday, depicting Baker kicking Rountree in the back, forcing her to stand naked while holding cans of food, and more.

Baker’s own defense previously told jurors she’s guilty of battery, but not murder.

On Monday, it was revealed Rountree’s father Richard spent the morning being interrogated at the McLean County Sheriff’s Office before he went to the Law and Justice Center. It was revealed Baker gave Richard a letter, asking him to “take the blame” for her. The defense was planning to use it if either of the two were to testify.

The Normal Police Department and McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office are expected to hold a joint press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the NPD headquarters.

This story will be updated.

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