Black mom seeks justice after 8-year old daughter was beaten to death by the father’s white girlfriend
Both the father and his girlfriend have been arrested in connection with the child's death.
Anntionetta Rountree got at least one wish granted yesterday when police arrested her deceased child’s father and charged him with endangering the life and health of a minor child.
Richard Rountree, the father of Rica Rountree, was arrested on Tuesday and is being held in the McLean County jail, in Normal, Illinois, on a $100,000 bond. Police say he and his girlfriend, Cynthia Baker, abused the 8-year-old girl. Baker was convicted of murdering the girl by kicking her in the stomach last January and causing massive internal injuries, according to ABC 20. Rica died from her injuries and the chronic abuse.
Police Chief Rick Bleichner said investigators arrested Rica’s dad after they analyzed almost half a terabyte of data and medical records, and reviewed witness statements. Bleichner told WGLT that Rountree’s conduct makes him eligible for an extended prison sentence.
Meanwhile Baker is petitioning the court to get a new trial, something Anntionetta Rountree is vigorously fighting. Last week, Rountree told supporters at a rally that she not only doesn’t support a new trial for Baker, but that Rica’s father and his teenage daughter should also be held responsible for her long-time abuse.
“Richard gets no sympathy—period. I went to court 101 times to get my daughter back,” Rountree said during the rally, according to WGLT, referring to the long custody battle that ended with her former husband and Baker having the child in their care for two years.
Judge Casey Costigan will decide whether to grant Baker’s request for a new trial on her claims that she received ineffective counsel. Baker has retained a new lawyer. Her Jan. 31 sentencing has been delayed pending that court ruling.
A jury convicted Baker of murder last year. Some jurors became emotional at videos shared during trial and recorded by Baker. One showed Rica being forced to hold cans as she stood naked and shivering. In another video, Rica’s dad reportedly forced the girl to stand on her head. Richard Rountree’s teenaged daughter allegedly participated in the abuse as well.