A former Ohio high school cheerleader who is accused of killing her newborn baby and burying her in the family’s backyard just days after prom faces trial early next month.
The murder trial for Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, will begin Sept. 3 for the death of her baby, who was found in July 2017 in the back of her family’s Carlisle home, Cinncinnati.com reports. Richardson has long maintained she didn’t kill her baby, claiming she was a stillborn.
In addition to aggravated murder charges, she faces involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse charges in the death of the baby, who has been named Annabelle. Richardson has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Authorities believe Richardson gave birth to the newborn in the middle of the night, just days after her senior prom in May.
Annabelle’s body was not discovered until two months later after Richardson revealed to her OB-GYN that she gave birth. That doctor in turn notified the police. Remains were recovered from the family’s backyard but were too decomposed to determine a cause of death.
Prosecutors point to skull fractures on the infant’s head as evidence that she was killed, according to the Dayton Daily News.
Earlier this month, Richardson’s attorneys requested the charges against her be dropped, claiming that a witness who testified before the grand jury changed her opinion about whether the newborn's bones had been burned.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth 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.
Prosecutors called the defense’s motion “groundless.”
Richardson’s attorneys also requested three separate trials to break up the charges but a judge denied that request.
Then a teen in 2017, Richardson reportedly hid her pregnancy from her high school classmates.
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