After two-year battle, defense loses bid to hide evidence suggesting that former teen infanticide suspect set corpse of her new born infant on fire
Brooke Skylar Richardson, will head to court on September 3 in Warren County, Ohio, as jury selection gets underway in her aggravated murder trial
Richardson, now 20, is accused of killing her newborn daughter and then burying the body in her family’s backyard just days after her prom
Prosecutors said the former Ohio high school cheerleader, then 18, bashed in her newborn daughter’s skull and buried her in the yard – Skylar and her family had been worried about community reaction to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
The defense is hoping to keep evidence suggesting Richardson may have tried to burn the baby in the wake of her death from emerging at trial – Judge Donald Oda II denied three motions filed by the defense that would have likely delayed the start of the trial, including one for a change of venue
Previous motions were also dismissed to keep a bottle of lighter fluid and Richardson’s diary from being presented as evidence
She is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse
Richardson claims the baby was stillborn
Brooke Skylar Richardson, [L-R], now 20, is headed to court on September 3 in Warren County as jury selection gets underway in her trial
Richardson was put on modified house arrest a little over a year ago, with the judge ruling she would have a curfew of 9pm through 7am and be supervised via GPS monitoring and random home visits.
Her modified release came after her defense team sought a ruling to bar prosecutors from presenting testimony from an obstetrics-gynecology practice’s medical staff, citing physician-patient privilege that she won’t give up.
Prosecutors argued that the privilege doesn’t apply in this case, but were ultimately shot down and forced to delay the start of the trial without that crucial evidence.
Authorities first learned of the baby from a doctor Richardson had visited just a few weeks before she gave birth.
The remains were found soon after, and prosecutors believe that Richardson buried the baby shortly after giving birth.
Richardson was full term when she gave birth to the girl, delivering the child in her bathroom within days after her senior prom.
County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Skylar, as she is known, and her family had been worried about community reaction to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
‘Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world,’ he said early in the proceedings.
‘You have a situation where, you know, she’s a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her attorney as you heard after the arraignment. And I think that kind of perception is one that Skylar wanted to perpetuate and her mother wanted to perpetuate.’
The defense continues to claim the child was delivered stillborn.
Mounting a furious campaign to avoid trial, her defense attorneys have blasted prosecutors for ‘a false narrative’ that sensationalized the case.
Their client didn’t kill the baby, and an expert witness concluded there was no sign of burning or of trauma that would have caused the baby’s death.
‘What started as an 18-year-old high school girl who was frightened and saddened because of giving birth to a stillborn baby whom she named Annabelle and then telling her doctor of the stillborn and burial in the backyard turned into something sinister and grotesque,’ they said in a motion to move the trial.