‘Grotesque Disregard for Life’: Judge Lays Responsibility for Baby’s Death on Brooke Skylar Richardson

Ohio woman Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, didn’t testify at her murder trial, but did speak for herself on Friday at the sentencing for abuse of a corpse.

“I just wanted to say how sorry I was,” she said. “I can sometimes be selfish, but I would like to think that I’ve become better in the knowledge that I’ve upset everyone, and hurt so many people with what I’ve done, and I’m forever sorry, and I’m so sorry. I’m really, really sorry, and I understand. Thank you.”

She was convicted of the charge Thursday, but acquitted of other charges: aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering children. Prosecutors said the defendant, then 18, hid her pregnancy from everyone in her life, gave birth, killed the baby, and buried the corpse in her family’s backyard. Cops only learned about the death after she had another doctor’s appointment the following month, and was questioned about the results of her pregnancy.

The defendant’s legal team said, however, that the child was stillborn, and that she gave a false confession to investigators.

Richardson will dodge further time in jail, assuming she follows the terms of three years of community control, a form of a probation.

Judge Donald E. Oda II continued to lay moral responsibility on Richardson.

“I firmly believe, Ms. Richardson–in fact, I know in my heart–that if you would have made different decisions in this case, Annabelle would be here today,” he said. “And I know that might be difficult for you to hear. Some people are inclined to think to themselves, ‘You know, this is America. We kill unborn babies every day.’ But I don’t look at it that way, Ms. Richardson, and the law does not allow me to consider the acts that you took prior to giving birth. But I think that your choices before birth, during birth, and after show a grotesque disregard for life. And I think when I look at this case. That, to me, is what offends the community sensibilities, but because of policy decisions that are beyond my purview, the jury was not permitted to consider those things, and neither am I. So I don’t hold those things against you in the sentencing.”

[Screengrab via Law&Crime]

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