A tribute to victim Christina McNeil

This website concerns not only Barton McNeil, with whom was wrongfully convicted and to this day continues to serve a 100-year sentence, but also his daughter Christina McNeil, with whom justice remains elusive to this day. The following passage can be found at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7790747/christina-marguerette-mcneil and was written by Christina’s mother, Tita Libres McNeil.

At the time of Christina’s death, Barton McNeil and Tita McNeil were divorced with each sharing equal time as caregivers of Christina. On the day before Christina’s murder, she had been taken by Tita to get a haircut. Barton picked her up around 7:30 p.m. after having a bitter break up fight with Misook at Avanti’s that was witnessed by the waitress and cashier who provided statements to police that Misook was so angry with Barton that she couldn’t fill out a check to pay for the dinner handing over her checkbook to Barton to complete it. After leaving the restaurant, Barton went to Tita’s to pick up his waiting daughter. He took her to McDonald’s to get her favorite Happy Meal. He returned to his small apartment and arranged a Disney movie video for Christina while he napped on the couch as Barton worked long hours as Assistant Manager for a local Red Lobster restaurant that required he work late hours. After awaking around 10 pm he went to put her to bed as she had daycare the following morning. He last heard and saw his daughter alive just after midnight. Since he had put her to bed hours earlier, was surprised to find her sitting upright in her bed leafing through a Disney book talking to presumably herself. He then let Christina know that she needed to go to bed as she had daycare scheduled for the following morning, arriving usually between 8 and 9 am. Barton never saw her alive again. Neighbors interviewed reported Barton to be a caring father. Having recently purchased her a bicycle with training wheels. So concerned Barton was for his daughter’s safety that he went up to neighbors he recently met that lived across the street to ask about whether his block would be safe for her to ride which they confirmed. The following as written by Tita McNeil, who also will always remain burdened by the loss of her daughter:

Christina Marguerette McNeil (Born January 11th, 1994; Deceased June 16th, 1998). Christina was a victim of homicide. A young life taken far too soon.

She was born on January 11, 1994 at 11:36 pm at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Bloomington, Illinois. She weight 7 pounds 4 ounces and her height was 20 and 1/2 inches. Christina is and was my only child. She was only nine months old when she first mentioned my full name.

My beloved Christina was a happy child, full of laughter and giggles. She developed the initiative of helping with household chores at the early age of one, always offering help in any way she could.

Christina was an easy child to raise. She was independent and knew how to entertain herself. She was my number one entertainer. She would sing, dance and joke with me. She would mimic the characters from her movie videos like Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Molly in the Comfy Couch, Jungle Book and Lion King. I could remember the way she danced like Cinderella. She would don my night clothes and pretend to be a princess while I was the prince. She loved to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Barney and the Alphabets Song.

Christina was my teacher. She called my attention to correctly pronounce the letter J when we sang the Alphabets Song and the word “three” when we practiced counting. She taught me the differences between violet and purple. Christina was intelligent. At two, she learned to spell. The first word she spelled completely was “welcome” from the mat of her grandparents porch. She spelled hard words like “restaurant” from the Mr. Quick on Washington St., Wal-Mart and Kohl’s.

Her night routine was the recitation of the Angels of God’s Prayer. She learned to say this prayer at two years old.

As a child, Christina was sensitive to the feelings of others. Twice she saw me crying inside her room. She came in and sat in front of me and asked what was wrong. She cried too and wiped my tears as we hugged each other. She always rewarded me with hugs and kisses after I came home from work.

Christina was also aware of her limits. She know when our shopping time would end because I still had to work. Often she would say, “I want to go home to mommy’s home, mommy’s working”. Every spring until fall, Christina would pick flowers she could find to give me. Her favorite were dandelions.

She loved Miller Park. The last time she ever saw this place was seventeen days before her death. She loved to visit the pet store in the mall because she loved to see the animals. She was also looking for stray cats from our neighborhood and would love to have given them a home. Her favorite eating place was McDonalds, because she loved the happy meal chicken nuggets. She also loved other foods such as doughnuts, spaghetti, fried chicken legs, pizza, broccoli and carrots. To this day, I still buy and cook her favorites in her memory.

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