The trial for an Ohio cheerleader charged with killing her newborn daughter and burying her body in the back yard began this week near Cincinnati.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, of Carlisle, Ohio, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment, People magazine reports.
In 2017, she allegedly hid her pregnancy from her parents and then gave birth to a baby girl in her bathroom at home. According to prosecutors, she killed her child and then buried the body in her back yard. She was a high school senior and cheerleader with plans to attend college at the time.
Richardson contends that her baby was stillborn, and she buried the baby’s body because she was afraid to tell her parents that she was pregnant.
The Journal-News reports the jury heard testimony from several witnesses this week, including the father of the baby, Trey Johnson.
Johnson said he and Richardson had a brief relationship, and she never informed him that she was pregnant. He said she did not even tell him after police found the remains of their baby buried in her back yard.
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Richardson’s doctor, Dr. William Andrew, also testified. He told the court that he informed her that she was pregnant, and the news upset her.
“She said, ‘I can’t have a baby. I am going to college,’” he told the jury.
Here’s more from the report:
Dr. Casey Boyce said she confronted Richardson in July 2017 when she came to her office for birth control because she knew a colleague at her office had told her she was pregnant several months before.
“She started crying. She said, ‘I had it alone in my house and I buried it in my backyard,’” the doctor testified.
Dr. Susan Brown, a forensic pathologist for the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, testified about the autopsy and investigation.
She said the cause of death for the baby is “homicidal violence,” but the exact cause of death cannot be determined because of the condition of the remains. On cross examination, she said she cannot determine if the baby suffered injuries before death or if she was stillborn, based on the remains.
According to People, Richardson told police that she did look into having an abortion, but she was too far along in her pregnancy. She also told them that she did not perform an abortion on herself.
During first interview with police, Richardson also said she did not kill her baby
Richardson said she gave birth on May 7, 2017, in the middle of the night at home in her bathroom. She said the baby fell out while she was on the toilet and was not breathing, Tweed Daily News reports. She also said her daughter was not making any noise and did not have a heartbeat.
“I didn’t kill her, though,” she told police.
The Dayton Daily News reported previously that an investigator’s report indicates the baby was born alive at birth.
Her trial is scheduled to continue into next week.