A US cheerleader smashed her newborn baby’s skull with a rock and then buried the child after keeping the pregnancy secret, prosecutors have claimed.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, was 18 when she allegedly told a doctor in 2017 she had given birth to a stillborn baby, who she named “Annabelle”.
Brooke Skylar Richardson arrives at court yesterday in Ohio accused of killing her newborn baby[/caption]
She told the medic that she buried the child in the backyard at her parents’ home in the village of Carlisle, Ohio, a court heard yesterday.
The physician reported the incident to police who soon located the child’s remains, reports News.com.au.
Ms Richardson was later charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering and has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors allege the then-teenager smashed the baby’s head with a rock before burying him in her back garden – claims Richardson strongly denies.
The former high school cheerleader is said to have given birth in the bathroom at her family home on May 1, 2017.
It was just a few days after her senior prom and weeks before she was set to start college.
Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
Prosecutor Julie Kraft said Ms Richardson didn’t tell anyone when she gave birth to her daughter.
She said: “Brooke took her own daughter’s life, destroyed all evidence of her birth and buried her in the backyard.”
‘BURIED THE CORPSE’
But she returned to her doctor for birth control a few weeks later where she arose suspicion.
According to her legal team, Ms Richardson kept quiet because she didn’t realise she was due so soon and her response was normal for a scared teenager.
Defence lawyer Charles M. Rittgers also pointed to inaccuracies in the investigation.
Prosecutors initially reported the body had been burned – but additional forensic analysis concluded it was not.
The 20-year-old kept the pregnancy secret from her family and friends, a court heard[/caption]
Mr Rittgers said the state failed to mention a detective in the case wrote in a report that Ms Richardson touched the baby with a lighter and flames went up to the baby’s chest.
“Although they gave a press release about it, but they don’t have the guts to come in here right off the bat and say that they were wrong about it,” he said.
In opening statements yesterday, prosecutors said the evidence would still show that Ms Richardson gave birth alone, buried the baby, disposed of the evidence and kept it a secret.
It was alleged Ms Richardson “purposely” caused the baby’s death, saying the family was “obsessed” with external appearances and wanted to prevent a potential interruption of their lives.
‘ASHAMED OF PREGNANCY’
According to prosecutors, Ms Richardson had an “extreme” reaction after being told she was pregnant and did not return for follow-up prenatal visits.
County prosecutor David Fornshell previously said the student and her family had been worried about the community’s reaction to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
He said: “Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world.
“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 lawyer 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.”
Another physician called police after Ms Richardson came in months later and told her she had “gone into labour, delivered a stillborn baby and buried the baby in her backyard,” according to court papers.
Her lawyers have accused prosecutors of creating “a false narrative” to sensationalise the case.
One said: “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.”
Ms Richardson has been under house arrest for more than a year after a judge ordered a curfew of 9pm to 7am, random home visits and for her to be subject to GPS monitoring.
The teen pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder[/caption]
The baby’s body was found in the back garden of her Ohio home[/caption]
Police made the grim discovery of the baby’s body in July 2017[/caption]
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