An Ohio woman accused of killing and burying her newborn daughter was upset and worried when she learned she was pregnant, according to testimony introduced during her murder trial on Thursday.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment after her newborn was found buried in her backyard. She has pleaded not guilty.
In court on Thursday, a police interview was played for the jury. During the interview, she allegedly told authorities that she suspected she was pregnant because she had gained weight and believed she could feel the baby moving in her womb.
Richardson allegedly told police that she went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy. She said that the staff at her doctor’s office wanted her to tell her mother that she was pregnant. She says she refused, saying, “My parents are going to kill me.”
The case began to unfold in July 2017, when a doctor told police that Richardson may have delivered a stillborn baby. Police searched the family’s property where they said they found the remains of a newborn girl in Richardson’s backyard — then arrested the teen on multiple charges.
Prosecutors allege that Richardson did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom with college only a few months away. 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.
But Richardson’s defense attorneys argued that the baby was stillborn and didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.
In the police interview played in court on Thursday, Richardson told the officers that the baby was not born alive. “I didn’t kill her, though,” she told police, who replied that they believed her.
In court on Wednesday, prosecutors presented texts that Richardson allegedly sent her mother, who did not realize that her daughter was pregnant.
“I’m literally so excited for dinner to wear something cute yayy my belly is back now I am takin this opportunity to make it amazing,” she allegedly texted after the baby was dead.
“I’m literally speechless with how happy I am,” Richardson allegedly wrote in another text. “My belly is back omg I am never ever ever evertrrr letting it grt like this again your about to see me look freaking better than before omg.”
Additionally, prosecutors allege that Richardson searched “how do I get rid of a baby” on the internet upon learning of her pregnancy. Her mother had allegedly previously warned her that her life would be over if she became pregnant, prosecutors said.
“She was determined to keep her secret,” Warren County Assistant Prosecutor Steve Knippen said during opening statements. “When she could conceal her daughter no longer, she took her daughter’s life.”
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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.
Testimony in the case will continue into next week.