A judge has ruled that the doctors' notes and interviews can be admitted during Brooke Skylar Richardson's trial
The former cheerleader accused of burying the remains of her newborn baby saw at least two doctors while she was pregnant — and those conversations and records will be presented during her trial.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 19, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment. She has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
On Monday, a Warren County court of appeals judge ruled that conversations with both of the doctors she consulted in early 2017 — Dr. William Andrew, who informed her of her pregnancy, and Dr. Casey Boyce, who she told about an alleged stillbirth — can be admitted as evidence in her upcoming trial. The judge said that doctor-patient privilege doesn’t apply in the case.
While doctors are generally required to keep interactions with their patients confidential, the judge ruled that Andrew and Boyce had adequate cause to suspect the abuse or mistreatment of a child. In cases where a crime is ongoing, physician-patient privilege is not absolute.
“We fail to see how applying the privilege to Richardson’s statements and reactions (during the appointment) furthers the purposes of the physician-patient privilege above the interest of the public in detecting crimes in order to protect society,” Judge Robert Ringland wrote in his ruling.
Richardson’s defense attorneys argued that the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child. Ringland ruled that “the issue of whether the baby was born alive figures to be an essential issue in this case.”
Ohio prosecutors allege the former cheerleader never returned for an ultrasound, blood work or any other treatment after learning she was pregnant and ignored repetitive phone calls from the doctor and assistants, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
At a hearing before the 12th District Court of Appeals on last month, prosecutors alleged that her reaction to hearing she was pregnant showed she never wanted to become a mom.
“Her reaction to the confirmation that she was pregnant was extreme. It was over-the-top,” said assistant prosecutor Kirsten Brandt.
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“She does nothing to prepare for this baby coming into the world,” Brandt said.
Brandt also said Richardson’s doctor “specifically told the defendant, ‘If you have any feelings that you are going to hurt this baby, you need to let us know that immediately.'”
Richardson’s defense attorney, Charlie H. Rittgers, told the Enquirer after the hearing, “The prosecutor is fabricating,” adding, “It’s just not true that Skylar Richardson had no intention of having a baby.”
PEOPLE’s call to Rittgers was not immediately returned.
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, the Enquirer reports.
Richardson is under house arrest but can leave her house if she returns home by 9 p.m.