Brooke Richardson not guilty of murder of newborn but questions remains as prosecutors fail to prove their case of former Ohio cheerleader killing newborn. Guilty of gross abuse of corpse.
A former Ohio cheerleader accused of killing and burying her own newborn child was on Thursday found not guilty of murdering her newborn baby.
A jury deliberated for 4 hours and 25 minutes, before finding Brooke Skylar Richardson not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangerment.
The now 20 year old woman was found guilty of only one charge: gross abuse of a corpse.
The verdicts follow the presiding judge on Tuesday throwing out the charge of tampering with evidence, saying that the prosecution hadn’t met its burden of proof on that charge.
While awaiting the verdict, Richardson was observed visibly shaking. She was breathing heavily and seemingly on the verge of tears according to court side media reports. When the verdict was announced, she burst into tears while her parents cried in the front row. ‘We love you so much,’ her mother said to her. ‘We love you, baby,’ people reported.
Brooke Richardson was accused of killing and burying her newborn daughter in her backyard in July 2017. In their case against her, prosecutors allege the then 18 year old teen not wanting to a teen single mom.
Richardson’s attorneys countering the prosecution argued that the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.
Richardson coming into the trial had pleaded not guilty.
BREAKING: Brooke Skylar Richardson found NOT GUILTY of aggravated murder, manslaughter, or child endangerment but found GUILTY of abuse of a corpse. pic.twitter.com/rISKLna6ZQ
— Court TV (@CourtTV) September 12, 2019
‘I didn’t really want to have my baby,’
Prosecutors allege that Richardson did not want to be a single teen mom with college only a few months away. In the weeks after learning of her pregnancy, Richardson didn’t return for an ultrasound, bloodwork, or any other treatment, while also ignoring calls from the doctor and assistants, prosecutors described.
In a police interview played in court last Thursday, Richardson allegedly told police that she didn’t return her doctor’s phone calls because she was scared. ‘I didn’t really want to have my baby,’ she told police. ‘I really don’t know what I planned to do.’
She also told police that she looked into an abortion, but it was too late to have one. She denied that she performed an abortion on herself.
Prosecutors allege Richardson intentionally killed her baby, despite the fact that the medical examiner was unable to determine a cause of death. They also allege that she searched how do I get rid of a baby upon finding out she was pregnant.
At no point during her pregnancy did the teen reveal her pregnancy to family or friends – with the socially active teen seemingly seeking to disguise having been impregnated.
Richardson’s attorneys have repeatedly admitted she buried the child’s remains in her parents’ backyard — but they say she only did so after the baby was stillborn and she didn’t know what to do with the remains. It remained unclear why authorities were never notified of the stillborn birth.
Richardson faces up to a year in jail for the charge of abuse of corpse. She will be sentenced on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m.