Ohio cheerleader acquitted of murdering her newborn in 2017
An Ohio cheerleader indicted for burying her newborn in her family’s backyard two years ago was acquitted Thursday on all but one charge of gross abuse of a corpse.
The now 20-year-old Brooke (Skylar) Richardson, who gave birth in 2017, was facing a potential life term, charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Earlier this week a judge had dismissed the tampering charge, the Enquirer said.
Defense attorneys had depicted Richardson as naïve, frightened and easily manipulated, influenced in part by sexual abuse she said she had suffered. Alone and scared, she had given birth in the middle of the night at age 18 to a stillborn baby and buried her in the backyard, her attorneys said. A psychologist testified that she had a personality disorder.
Prosecutors portrayed Richardson as a someone obsessed with appearances who didn’t want her “perfect” life ruined when she found out she was pregnant. After killing her baby, they said, Richardson took a lighter to the infant’s foot in an attempt to burn her.
Only bones were left when the child was found, which left the question as to whether the baby was born alive inconclusive, as ReWire News reported at the time.
Richardson graduated from Carlisle High School, about 40 miles north of Cincinnati, after serving on the track and cheerleading teams, the homecoming court and the national honor society, the Cincinnati Enquirer said. She was headed to the University of Cincinnati at the time of her arrest.