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Murder trial for woman accused of killing her stepdaughter delayed

MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) — The murder trial for the woman accused of killing her 8-year-old stepdaughter has been moved to November.

The trial was originally set to begin jury selection next week but the state was granted more time because of new evidence brought forth by the defense.

The defense, representing Cythina Baker, 41, presented the prosecution with new information about a car accident he said could have contributed to the death of the Rica Rountree, who died in January. 

Baker is pleading not guilty to three counts of murder in connection to the death of eight-year-old.

Lead defense attorney Brendan Bukalski said he family members just informed the defense of an incident that took place while the family was on a trip to Chicago that left the girl with injuries from a seatbelt.

After bringing this information to the state the prosecution requested more time to investigate these claims.

Though Bukalski said prosecutors knew there could have been other causes of death but chose to not investigate them.

“One of their witnesses, a doctor, offered up that he sees this type of injury either with a blow. You know blunt force trauma blow or such as a deceleration like with a seatbelt,” Bukalski said. “So as early as January 26 this defense should’ve been known to them.”

Prosecutors allege a long pattern of abuse by Baker prior to the child’s death.

Jury selection will begin Nov. 12.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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