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Former Ohio Cheerleader Accused Of Killing Newborn Baby Wants Charges To Be Dropped

Brooke Skylar Richardson's defense team has argued there are "defects" in the case after a witness who testified before the grand jury changed her opinion about whether the newborn's bones had been burned. 

By Jill Sederstrom

Attorneys for a former Ohio cheerleader accused of killing her newborn baby and burying the child in the backyard have requested the charges against her be dropped.

In a motion filed earlier this month, attorneys Charles H. And Charles M. Rittgers argued that the case against Brooke Skylar Richardson should be dropped because of “defects in the institution of prosecution,” and alleging that Richardson had been deprived of her rights to a fair trial and due process, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The motion also asks for grand jury testimony by forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray to be reviewed after defense lawyers said Murray presented information to the grand jury that she has later recanted.

Murray initially testified that she believed the newborn’s bones had been charred, but later changed her belief after a second examination of the bones on Aug. 17, 2017, the motion states. Defense attorneys argued this discrepancy made the case “defective,” according to the Journal-News.

Brooke Skylar Richardson

The defense team also included emails between Murray and Dr. Susan Allen in the motion in which the pair discussed the changing views.

“The prosecutor’s office seems ‘upset’ with me that I wasn’t more definitive about the burning but you and I saw what we saw. … Those bones looked so different from my July visit to my August visit—and we discussed that,” Murray wrote to Allen, later telling her colleague in another reply “I ain’t gonna lie to them, but I ain’t gonna lie for them!”

Warren County prosecutors, however, have called the defense’s motion “groundless.”

They contend the defense team “conveniently ignores substantial additional evidence, including the video of Richardson’s own statements to law enforcement.”

Prosecutors believe the question over the charred bones does “not negate evidence that Richardson caused the death of her baby, created a substantial risk of health or safety to her baby, or buried her baby,” People reports.

In the emails, Murray also wrote that whether or not the bones were burned, “that baby was still dead, had unexplained skull fractures, and was buried in the backyard. I don’t understand why the burning takes it up such a notch.”

Richardson, now 20, is facing charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment in the death of her newborn daughter Annabelle.

Authorities believe Richardson gave birth to the newborn in the middle of the night, just days after her senior prom, then killed the child and buried her remains in the backyard, according to WXIX-TV.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.