Jackson Richardson was a character witness for sister Brooke Skylar Richardson, who is on trial for aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and other charges

By Steve Helling
September 12, 2019 10:24 AM

The brother of Brooke Skylar Richardson took the stand on Wednesday to discuss their upbringing — and disclosed that the 20-year-old woman suffered from a longtime eating disorder.

Jackson Richardson was a character witness for his sister. He told the jury about family vacations and holidays, but said everything was not perfect in their home. He told the jury that she would hide food, and said he would sometimes hear her throwing up.

“I just wanted her to be happy,” he said.

Brooke Richardson is accused of killing and burying her newborn daughter in her backyard in July 2017. Prosecutors allege she did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom. Richardson’s attorneys argued that the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.

Richardson, now 20, is facing trial for aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and child endangerment. She has pleaded not guilty. On Tuesday, a judge threw out a charge of tampering with evidence, saying that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof on that charge.

Credit: Greg Lynch/The Journal-News via AP

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 have said.

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.

Credit: Nick Graham/The Journal-News via AP

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Prosecutors allege that she 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.

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.

Also on Thursday, the defense called Chris Curry, an English teacher at Richardson’s high school. He testified that she wrote an essay on her eating disorders.

The defense argues that Richardson’s weight and health problems may have affected her baby’s development.

The defense rested on Wednesday, and closing arguments will be given on Thursday. The jury should begin deliberating by the end of the week.