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A former high school cheerleader on trial for killing her newborn 11 days after discovering she would be a mom allegedly admitted to police that the child was breathing when she delivered her into a toilet, and that soon afterward she may have squeezed her too tight.
A second interrogation tape between then 18-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson and Carlisle Police Department investigators was played to jurors at a Warren County Courthouse room on Monday, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
In it, the young woman's hands are locked with a female detective who prompts Richardson to think about the memory of her child: "This is about Annabelle," referring to the name Richardson gave the baby.
Richardson, now 20, is facing charges of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors say she gave birth to Annabelle, in the middle of the night on May 7, 2017, and then killed the baby and buried her in the backyard near a flower planter while the rest of her family slept. Her defense team has argued that the baby was stillborn.
The baby's body was located in a shallow grave two months later.
If found guilty, Richardson could spend the rest of her life in prison.
The taped interview follows an original interview with Richardson and police that was also played to jurors.
During the first taped interrogation, Richardson answers detectives' detailed questions about the delivery. She told them how on the night in question she sat on a toilet seat at around 3 a.m. after experiencing cramp-like pains.
"It just came out," she said, remembering the painful moment when her baby was born and fell into the toilet.
"I could feel it and something needed to come out," she says.
Richardson claimed she "kind of caught her by the head a little bit," but pointed out that she made no attempt to hurt the child. "I didn't murder her."
When asked if she ever returned to the spot where her daughter was buried, Richardson told the police in the first videotaped interview: "Maybe once. It's hard."
The first video also showed Richardson's parents meeting and consoling their daughter after learning her secret.
At one point a trembling Richardson asks her parents if they buy her story.
"Do you believe me," Richardson her mother and father as police stepped out of the room.
"How do we know if we can believe you," the father responded. "Look at how much you've lied to us. That's the biggest problem."
In the follow-up interview on the second tape played on Monday, Richardson allegedly tells investigators that when the baby landed in the toilet she may have inadvertently “hit her head a little bit.”
Richardson is seen breaking down while explaining that she attempted to keep the pregnancy hidden and that after delivering, she may have mishandled her baby by possibly squeezing her in a dangerous way.
“I didn’t think she was breathing and I may have squeezed her too hard. I loved her," Richardson reassured them, according to the second video.
Then, Richardson explains in the footage, posted by FOX19 NOW, how she attempted to even set fire to the body, before putting the flame out with some dirt, and at one point said, “I tried to cremate the baby just a little.”
Richardson said she grabbed some flowers from the family’s fire pit and used them to cover the shallow gravesite.
The accused woman's legal defense attorneys have maintained that Richardson buried the body because she was terrified and couldn't think of any other options.
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