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Deliberations to continue Tuesday morning in Baker trial

BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) — Cynthia Baker, charged in killing her 8-year-old stepdaughter, will have to wait another day to hear the jury’s verdict.

Due to the extended hours the trial was entering in its fifth day, Judge Casey Costigan allowed the jury to return to court on Tuesday to continue its deliberation.

On Monday, the defense had three of its five scheduled witnesses give testimony before resting its case. The other two were Baker, who chose not to take the stand, and her boyfriend, Richard Rountree, who was being interviewed by the McLean County Sheriff’s Office.

During their closing argument, the defense admitted Baker is guilty of some of the charges she is facing but not all of them.

“She is 100 percent guilty of every domestic battery they charged her with. I’m her attorney and I’m telling you that. But those videos do not show aggravated battery, they do not show murder. They again show an offense she is accurately charged with,” Baker’s Defense Attorney Todd Ringel said.

While the state replayed the graphic videos of Baker hitting a naked Rica Rountree and slamming the child’s head on the wall in front of all of the children in Baker’s home.

“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,” McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds said.

Rica Rountree died January 26, 2019, after she was transported to a Peoria hospital from Normal for medical care on January 25.

Baker pleaded not guilty in May 2019, after she was arrested in April on murder, and several other charges.

Jury deliberations resume at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Drew Veskauf

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