Cheerleader Who Buried Her Baby In Backyard Found Not Guilty Of Murder
A cheerleader in the US who buried her newborn baby in her backyard has been found not guilty of murder, manslaughter and child endangerment.
Brooke Skylar Richardson gave birth to a stillborn baby girl called Annabelle on the toilet of her family home in Carlisle, Ohio, in May 2017.
The 20-year-old had told nobody - including her family - about the pregnancy, and buried the baby in the backyard, before confessing to a gynaecologist two months later what she had done.
Richardson was facing life in prison for charges including aggravated murder, manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and child endangerment; she was also charged with tampering with evidence but the judged removed the count during the trial.
However, after three hours of deliberations on Thursday, the jury found Richardson not guilty of the aforementioned charges. Richardson was found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse though, for which she will face a maximum of one year behind bars.
As the verdict was read out in court, Richardson broke down in tears and said 'I love you' to her parents as she was led away in handcuffs. She is due to be sentenced on Friday morning.
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Prosecutors had argued that the baby was born alive and claimed she had tried to cremate her after a pathologist claimed that the excavated bones appeared burned. The pathologist went on to retract this claim, but in a second police interview, Richardson said she 'tried to cremate her a little' after police said they 'knew she did something with fire', according to the Daily Mail. However, defence attorneys argued this confession was coerced.
During closing arguments, the prosecution said: "All of the stars did not just align for her to have a stillborn child that she didn't want, told no one about, made no preparations for and concealed and buried her in the backyard, all so that she could maintain the appearance and image of her perfect life.
The prosecution also made reference to a message Richardson had sent her mother shortly after delivering the baby which read: "I'm literally speachless (sic) with how happy am... I am literally so excited now just for dinner to wear something cute yayyyy my belly is back and now I'm takin(sic) this opportunity to make it amazing."
The defense called upon Dr Stuart Bassman, who said Richardson was sexually abused as a child, which gave her a personality disorder.
He said: "Skylar shared with me, when she was 12 or so, she was having insecurity about her appearance, whether she would be liked, whether she would be accepted, typical behaviour, so a boy started showing her attention, a boy that Skylar looked up to, who Skylar admired.
"She began to respond, and then he began to abuse her. He began to abuse her sexually."
Featured Image Credit: PA