LEBANON, Ohio (AP/CBS News) — A young Ohio woman acquitted of killing and burying her newborn in the backyard was sentenced Friday to three years’ probation on a corpse abuse charge.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, apologized before a Warren County judge told her she showed a “grotesque disregard for life.”
Richardson, then 18, buried her newborn daughter in her family’s backyard in 2017.
Officials had claimed the former Ohio high school cheerleader killed her newborn daughter two days after attending her senior prom.
In questioning in 2017, Richardson described events of the baby’s birth.
“I could feel it and something needed to come out. I could feel it,” she told detectives.
Her defense said the baby she called “Annabelle” was stillborn.
“Life is precious, and it should be protected,” Judge Donald E. Oda II said. “I know in my heart that if you would have made different decisions in this case, Annabelle would be here today.”
Oda warned Richardson, a first-time offender, that he can send her to prison for up to a year if she violates probation.
“I just wanted to say how sorry I was,” Richardson told the judge before he sentenced her. She said she can “sometimes be selfish,” and she knows she hurt “so many” people.
“I’m forever sorry, I’m so sorry; I’m really, really sorry,” she said.
The baby’s paternal grandmother, Tracy Johnson, told the court about the pain of losing a baby she and her son Trey, the father, didn’t even know about until long after her death.
Prosecutors argued that she hid her unwanted pregnancy and killed the baby before burying it in her family’s backyard so that the high school cheerleader could get on with her “perfect life.”
However, medical experts who testified for both prosecution and defense agreed there was no physical proof the baby was alive.
A live birth had to be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” if the jury was to convict on any of the three most serious charges: aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. She could have faced in prison if convicted of aggravated murder.
- Inspectors checking ‘every nut, bolt, fastener or screw’ on NC State Fair rides
- 12 Democrats meet for first debate since impeachment inquiry
- Dutch family of 7 waiting for ‘the end of time’ discovered living in farmhouse basement
- Wake County reports most coyote sightings in North Carolina
- Fail foliage expected to peak for some North Carolina mountains this weekend
For more stories like this that matter to you, click here to download the CBS 17 News app for free.
Watch live newscasts, get breaking news and sign up for push alerts – download now