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Jurors Hear 2 Versions of Birth That No One Knew About

Brooke Skylar Richardson faces aggravated murder charge
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2019 6:45 PM CDT
Updated Sep 5, 2019 1:00 AM CDT
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Brooke Skylar Richardson sits in the Warren County Courthouse on Wednesday in Lebanon, Ohio.   (Nick Graham/The Journal-News via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – It was the perfect crime, the prosecutor said in court Tuesday. It's a "massive rush to judgment," the defense lawyer said. Jurors heard competing theories as an Ohio court began selecting jurors this week who will have to decide if Brooke Skylar Richardson killed her newborn and buried it in her backyard to keep anyone from finding out she'd been pregnant, or if the child was stillborn. Richardson, 20, is charged with aggravated murder in the 2017 case, the Washington Post reports. The body had been in the yard for two months, and the coroner couldn't establish a cause of death. Richardson says the child was stillborn. Prosecutors say the death was a homicide. Richardson was 18, a senior in high school at the time, and prosecutors say her mother had told her that her life would be over if she became pregnant, per the Enquirer. When she found out she was, investigators say, she did an internet search for, "how do I get rid of a baby."

Richardson, who had broken up with her boyfriend and had a new one, didn't know she was pregnant until her mother sent her to a gynecologist in late April 2017. Her family and friends saw that she'd put on weight, but she'd been battling eating disorders, and her weight fluctuated. "We were all like, 'Oh, yay! She’s putting weight on,'" her aunt said. The gynecologist told Richardson she'd give birth within 10 weeks, but that was off because the fetus was so small. The baby was born 11 days later, in the middle of the night in a bathroom while Richardson's family was asleep. Her lawyer said she sat bleeding on the floor, holding the girl's body for hours, then buried her, putting a flower pot over the spot to mark it that she could see from her window. Prosecutors say that hours after burying the body, Richardson went to the gym and took photos to show that she'd lost weight. She texted her mother: "I’m literally speechless with how happy I am. My belly is back omg," adding "your about to see me look freaking better than before omg." The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, resumes Thursday. (The doctor provided the tip that started the case.)

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