A 40-year-old Colona man – a suspect in the death of a baby – has pleaded not guilty and wants a bench trial, court records show.

On Monday, Rahsaan Strawder, of Colona, appeared with his attorney and waived his right to a jury trial. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court records. In a jury trial, jurors make the decisions. In a bench trial, a judge makes the decisions.

Rahsaan Strawder (Colona Police Department)

Court records show the bench trial will be set for five days and must be scheduled by early next year.

Strawder faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery after police named him as a suspect in the battery of a 14-month-old child, who later died.

The incident

On Jan. 27, 2022, Moline Police notified Colona Police about an aggravated battery to a child that had occurred in Colona, according to a news release from Colona Police Chief Mike Swemline. Colona’s investigator met with Moline Police investigators, and both agencies conducted interviews with Strawder.

After a search warrant was obtained for a Colona residence, an Illinois State Police Crime Scene team arrived and processed the property for evidence. The child was flown to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria in critical condition, according to a news release. Strawder was initially charged with aggravated battery to a child and held on a $1-million bond in Henry County Jail.

The Colona Police Department was notified Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, that the baby had passed away Jan. 30, 2022, a news release says. Officials said additional charges would be filed pending the results of an autopsy, which was conducted Feb. 1, 2022, in Peoria.

According to Henry County Court records, charges were updated Feb. 2, 2022, against Strawder

Earlier, Strawder’s mother told Local 4 News her son is not responsible for the child’s death.

“What is the purpose of him trying to hurt a baby? He wouldn’t dare do that,” Delargo Dunn, Strawder’s mother, said earlier. “The baby was in the mom’s care.”