Family of Ex-Cheerleader Acquitted of Killing Her Baby Will 'Bring Closure' with Proper Burial
Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of murder but convicted of gross abuse of a corpse
As Brooke Skylar Richardson’s trial came to a close this week, with the former cheerleader being found not guilty of murdering her newborn, her family is looking to finally giving the infant’s remains a “proper burial.”
On Friday, Judge Donald Oda II determined that the remains of the child would be returned to the Richardson family, according to the Journal-News.
“They had made plans now for more than two years to have a proper burial, proper memorial service,” Defense attorney Charles Rittgers told the judge, the outlet reported, adding that they had already secured a plot of land.
“The Richardson family would like to bring closure for Annabelle and give her an eternal resting place,” he said, referencing the name of the infant.
Oda also ruled that the burial property would need to be accessible to the family of Trey Johnson, the baby’s father.
The former cheerleader, now 20, was acquitted of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment on Thursday.
Jurors found her guilty on one charge — gross abuse of a corpse — after Richardson, who pleaded not guilty, admitted to burying the body in the backyard of her family’s Ohio home in July 2017, when she was 18.
On Friday, she was sentenced to three years probation, with credit for seven days she already has spent in custody. If she is found to violate that probation, she could spend up to a year in jail.
During sentencing on Friday, Richardson apologized for her actions as spoke out for the first time in two years.
“I would do anything that you ask,” she told the judge. “I can sometimes be selfish, but I’m getting better. I’m forever sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ve hurt a lot of people. I am really, really sorry. And I understand.”
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During the hearing, Oda reprimanded Richardson for her actions.
“I believe if you had made different decisions, [the baby] would still be here,” Oda said. “I think that your choices before birth, during birth and after birth show a grotesque disregard for life.”
Richardson had been a senior in high school when she was accused of killing and burying her newborn daughter. Prosecutors alleged that the varsity cheerleader didn’t want to be a single mom at age 18.
Richardson’s attorneys argued that the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.