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BLOOMINGTON — Trial dates have been finalized for two unrelated murder cases in McLean County.

Cynthia Baker, 41, of Bloomington, also known as Cynthia Clay, will go to trial Oct. 15 on charges of fatally beating her boyfriend’s 8-year-old daughter. She is charged with murder and aggravated battery in the Jan. 26 death of Rica Rountree. According to the charges, Baker kicked the child in the abdomen, causing fatal injuries.

An original July 22 trial date was moved because a key witness will not be available. Judge Casey Costigan agreed to move the trial to the October calendar.

Lawyers believe the case will take about one week to complete. An Oct. 3 status update is scheduled.

The trial of Christopher Harrison, 19, of Normal, is scheduled to begin Nov. 12. Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Horve told Costigan he expects the trial to last five to seven days.

Harrison is charged with murder in the April 2018 shooting deaths of Joseph Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19, both of Bloomington. Prosecutors say they were killed in the entryway of an apartment building along East College Avenue in Normal.

A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.