The Sun

Mum, 41, faces life for killing her boyfriend’s daughter, 8, by kicking her so hard in the stomach her intestines ripped.

A STEPMUM kicked her boyfriend's daughter in the stomach so hard that her intestines ripped and she died.

Cynthia Baker, 41, was found guilty of killing Rica Roundtree as well as subjecting the eight-year-old to "wanton cruelty" and abuse.

 Cynthia Baker, 41, was found guilty of first degree murder and other child abuse charges

Cynthia Baker, 41, was found guilty of first degree murder and other child abuse chargesCredit: McLean County Sheriff’s Office

 She kicked Rica Roundtree, eight, in the stomach so hard that it killed her

She kicked Rica Roundtree, eight, in the stomach so hard that it killed herCredit: Facebook

The girl suffered intestinal perforation for up to five days before she was rushed to a hospital, where she died on January 26.

Before being taken in, Rica vomited at dinner, could no longer see and almost fell down the stairs, due to her wounds, the Pantagraph reported.

She later was determined to have more than 50 marks on her body caused by child abuse, according to forensic pathologist Dr John Denton.

After Baker's arrest in Normal, Illinois, detectives found video footage of three attacks she had inflicted upon the child during 2018.


These included striking different parts of the girl's body, hitting her head against walls, kneeing her in the back and more.

One shocking clip showed Rica naked and struggling to hold cans in her hands, while her arms were wide apart in painful stretching position.

During the "discipline" method Baker could be heard mocking the girl and telling her to keep her arms straight.

She said: “Cold, aren’t you? Good,” and later asked Rica if she should put a collar on her.

Rica was treated as less than as this defendant’s punching bag.

Assistant State's Attorney, Erika Reynolds

Assistant State's Attorney Erika Reynolds told the court: "For most, it’s unthinkable but for Rica, it was normal.

"In (Baker's home), Rica was treated as less than as this defendant’s punching bag and her pain served as entertainment for the entire family,”

"Rica's life didn't matter to this defendant, but it matters in this courtroom."

Baker was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury and could now face life in prison at her sentencing hearing on February 3.

She was also convicted of aggravated battery, three counts of domestic battery and endangering the life of a child.

Baker initially faced 15 charges but prosecutors only decided to pursue the six related to Rica's death.

Exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty.

Judge Casey Costigan

Judge Casey Costigan stated that her crimes were "accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty."

Rica's parents, Richard Rountree and Ann Simmons, were due to testify during the trial but were no called up.

This was decided after the state allegedly discovered that Baker had written a letter to Roundtree telling him to "take the blame for everything" during his court appearance.

Prior to Rica's death, the prosecution said that Baker had fooled child services by explaining away black eyes and swollen lips.

She also initially denied "physically disciplining" her own four children but later confessed to spanking them with either her hand or a belt.

State's Attorney Reynolds quoted Dr Denton's medical opinion in her closing statement.

She said: "A child who has been systematically physically abused develops the ability to cope with even the most serious pain."

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