A former high school cheerleader accused of killing her newborn baby just days after prom allegedly told authorities she tried to cremate the body.
That is just one of the details prosecutors said jurors will learn from a second interrogation tape between police and an 18-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson being played Monday in court.
Richardson, now 20, is facing charges of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors say she gave birth to a baby girl in the middle of the night in May 2017, then killed the baby and buried her in the backyard while the rest of her family slept.
Her defense team has argued that the baby was stillborn and that Richardson buried the body because she didn’t know what else to do.
Jurors are learning Monday just what Richardson told police in a second interrogation tape being played in court.
“I didn’t think she was breathing and I squeezed her too tight,” Richardson allegedly told police in the tape, according to The Journal-News. “I loved her.”
She also admitted that she took flowers from the family’s fire pit to put over the shallow grave site.
The video is also expected to show Richardson later telling police that the baby had actually been alive for five minutes. She allegedly told police she saw her daughter’s arms move and heard the baby crying and making noises, local station WXIX-TV reports.
The body was discovered two months after the baby was born, buried in a shallow grave. Richardson told police that she was in tremendous pain after giving birth and was unable to dig a very deep grave.
The investigators later discovered the skeletal remains of the child using their hands and brushes, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The skin had already decomposed, no recognizable organs remained, and only tiny fingernails, hair and bones were found. One investigator testified earlier in the trial that the bones were so small it was hard to tell whether it was rock or bone.
An autopsy determined that the baby had suffered fractures to the skull and Dr. Susan Brown testified that evidence points to the baby’s death being a homicide, WXIX-TV reports.
However, a forensic anthropologist also told the jury that it’s possible the fractures could have occurred after the baby died.
A central question in the case is whether or not the bones were burned.
In court Friday, prosecutors read a transcript of a conversation Richardson allegedly had with her father after a police interview.
In the transcript, her father asks Richardson to be honest, telling her, “Honey, tell us what happened,” People reports.
“I tried to cremate the baby,” she allegedly responded.
According to a police report, Richardson told authorities she lit the baby’s foot on fire with a lighter and let the flames reach her chest before putting it out.
However, by the time investigators found the body the evidence was inconclusive about whether the remains had been burned.
Richardson’s attorneys have argued that her alleged confession was coerced after authorities befriended the 18-year-old and only stopped the interrogation after they got her to say what they wanted to hear. They say the baby was never born alive.
The trial continues this week.
If convicted, Richardson could face life in prison.
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