The prosecution has rested its case in the murder trial of Brooke Skylar Richardson
An Ohio woman is in her second week of trial for allegedly killing and burying her newborn daughter — and prosecutors have presented numerous interviews and text messages that she sent in the days after the baby died.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, allegedly committed the crimes in July 2017. Prosecutors allege she did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom with college only a few months away. Richardson’s attorneys argued the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.
Last week, the prosecution presented a text message she sent her boyfriend the morning after the baby’s death.
“Last night was like the worst ever,” she wrote. “But I feel so much better this morning. I’m happy.”
But Richardson’s defense attorneys told the jury not to read too much into the texts, because the teen was just trying to put on a happy face during a very stressful time. “She put a smile on for the outside world,” one of her attorneys told the jury.
Richardson is facing trial on aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment charges. She has pleaded not guilty.
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.
By the time the baby’s skeletal remains were found, the cause of death was inconclusive. Additionally, authorities are unsure whether the body of the baby, who Richardson had already named Annabelle, had been burned. Her attorneys say she falsely admitted to burning the body after police had broken her down during questioning.
In the months after learning of her pregnancy, Richardson didn’t return for an ultrasound, bloodwork or any other treatment, while ignoring calls from the doctor and assistants, prosecutors have said.
In a police interview played in court last Thursday, Richardson 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.”
Prosecutors allege 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.
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During repeated questioning, Richardson spoke softly. She appeared to cry when one of the detectives said to her, “Think how proud Annabelle would be to have you as a mom.”
They also allege that she searched “how do I get rid of a baby” upon finding out she was pregnant.
The prosecution rested its case late Monday afternoon. The defense began presenting their arguments on Tuesday morning.