LEBANON, Ohio -- Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle 18-year-old charged with aggravated murder and other felonies in the death of her newborn, is out on bond after she was arraigned Monday.
Richardson is accused of killing her newborn baby, burning the body and burying the remains in her backyard all within hours of the baby's birth. In addition to murder, she's charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Here’s what Richardson’s attorney and the Warren County prosecutor have told us about the case:
From the defense
- Defense attorney Charlie Rittgers entered a not guilty plea Monday on Richardson’s behalf.
- Rittgers has repeatedly characterized Richardson as a 'good girl' who volunteered, was a member of the cheer squad and track team, and has never been in trouble with the law or otherwise. Richardson graduated from Carlisle High School in May and her attorney said she planned to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall.
- Rittgers was clear Monday: “I can tell you Brooke Skylar Richardson did not kill her baby,” he said.
- He said the defense has filed motions for a bill of particulars of the indicted charges and evidence in the case.
- Rittgers said he anticipates the defense will have its own experts examine the remains of the infant.
- Richardson’s family attended Monday’s short hearing but left without comment.
From the prosecutor
- Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said that two days after the Carlisle High School prom -- sometime between May 6 and May 7 -- Richardson gave birth to the newborn and caused the child’s death. She then burned the infant and then buried it in her backyard, Fornshell said.
- According to Fornshell, everything occurred over a period of a few hours after the baby was born. He said the baby was born at about 38 weeks to 40 weeks — full term.
- Carlisle police were notified July 14 by Richardson’s OB-GYN’s office about a possible stillborn baby, Fornshell said.
- Fornshell would not say how long the baby was alive before it was killed, nor how the baby died. “We may never know the medical cause of the baby’s death,” he said.
- Fornshell declined to say what the sex of the baby was. “The matter is under investigation currently. It is an open and active investigation so I am not going to make any comments on what someone else may have done, what they knew, when the knew it,” he said.
- Fornshell said investigators may be able to positively identify the baby's father through DNA testing, but that his office has "some idea" of who the father may be. He declined to release the name of a suspected father.
- Fornshell said he believes the motive may have been related to an obsession with "appearances and how things appear to the outside world." Fornshell said Richardson and her mother would not have wanted the community to know she was pregnant and had a baby.
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