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Former Cheerleader Acquitted of Killing Newborn

Jury finds Brooke Skylar Richardson guilty of just one charge, corpse abuse
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 12, 2019 3:36 PM CDT
Brooke "Skylar" Richardson walks into the courthouse before closing arguments in her trial at Warren County Common Pleas Court Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 in Lebanon, Ohio. Richardson, accused of killing...   (Nick Graham/The Journal-News via AP)
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(Newser) – A young Ohio mother who prosecutors said killed and buried her unwanted newborn in her backyard was acquitted by jurors Thursday, the AP reports. The Warren County jury deliberated for four hours before acquitting 20-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges. She was found guilty of corpse abuse. Richardson began crying as verdicts were being read. Warren County Judge Donald Oda II scheduled sentencing for 11am Friday on the abuse of a corpse charge. It carries a potential sentence of up to one year in prison, but as a first-time offender, Richardson could get probation.

Prosecutors contended that the high school cheerleader wanted to keep her "perfect life." They said she hid her unwanted pregnancy and buried her baby in her family's backyard in May 2017, within days of her senior prom. A forensic pathologist testified for the prosecution that she concluded the baby died from "homicidal violence." Prosecutors said Richardson had searched on the internet for "how to get rid of a baby." They played video for the jury of a police interview in which Richardson said the baby might have moved and made noises. But her defense said the baby she named "Annabelle" was stillborn and that the teen was sad and scared, and a psychologist said "Skylar was being manipulated" into making false statements during interrogations. The baby's remains were found buried outside the family home in July 2017.

(Read more Brooke Skylar Richardson stories.)

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