Update – September 12, 4:06 p.m.: Richardson was acquitted of all charges except abuse of a corpse. Learn more here.
Update – September 9, 5:46 p.m.: The judge dropped the tampering with evidence charge after the state rested its case.
BREAKING: After hearing defense argument to dismiss charges the judge has dismissed count 4 – Tampering with Evidence. #SkylarRichardson
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) September 9, 2019
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, stands trial in Warren County, Ohio in the death of her newborn daughter. She is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, and abuse of a corpse.
The defendant killed the child, and buried the body in the backyard, prosecutors said. Richardson allegedly told a doctor after the fact, however, that the girl was stillborn.
Her parents took her side publicly.
“No one should be prosecuted for having stillborn babies,” mother Kim Richardson told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
In this account, the defendant went to use the bathroom just two days after attending high school prom. Instead, she gave birth to a baby girl. Brooklyn Richardson tried to care for the baby for an hour, but the girl never breathed or opened her eyes. The defendant buried the child in the backyard between two trees.
Her family said she suffered from serious eating disorders amid the secret pregnancy.
“If she had come to me and said she was pregnant, I would have said, ‘OK, not exactly in the cards, but we will deal with it,'” said Kim Richardson. “That would have been easier to deal with than this eating disorder. I can’t describe it; when your child won’t eat a piece of gum or she is worried about toothpaste and you can’t do anything about it.”
The family named the late baby girl Annabelle.
Prosecutors, however, said Richardson’s mother never would’ve have accepted a teen pregnancy, and that the family was fixated on optics.
The defendant learned she was pregnant in a medical appointment with on April 26, 2017, according to court documents obtained by Law&Crime. She allegedly gave birth the following May 7, and returned to see another doctor at the same clinic July 12.
From court records.
Dr. Boyce entered the examination room and asked Richardson about her pregnancy and the baby. Richardson immediately began crying and informed Dr. Boyce that she had gone into labor, delivered a stillborn baby, and buried the baby in her backyard. Richardson told Dr. Boyce that she kept the pregnancy and the delivery a secret from her parents and that nobody else was aware of the situation.
Both doctors reached out to police. A judge ruled that physician-patient privilege didn’t outweigh the need for detecting crimes. Therefore, the conversations involving both doctors were admissible as evidence.
[Mugshot via Warren County Sheriff’s Office]