Written By: Ishton W Morton – September 3rd, 2019
Today in Lebanon, Ohio there was high drama today as the aggravated murder trial of Brooke “Skylar” Richardson the former Carlisle High School cheerleader who is charged with killing her newborn daughter and then buried its remains in her back yard approximately two years ago.
Reportedly, the case began in a Warren County Courtroom where the defendant watched and listened as her attorney made a strong or powerful, often continuous, rant and rave at the state for not having the guts to admit they are being wrong about whether Richardson burned the body.
Flanked by her parents, Kim and Scott, the 20-year-old Richardson arrived for jury selection just as more details about her case were about to surface in the courtroom of Judge Don Ota II.
Prior to voir dire, it was stated without equivocation that no formal plea deal was ever offered to her. The state said there was only informal discussion about a deal.
For those of us who may have forgotten, voir dire is French for “to speak the truth.” This is a process through which potential jurors from the venire are questioned by either the judge or a lawyer to determine their suitability for jury service. Also the preliminary questioning of witnesses (especially experts) to determine their competence to testify. See, e.g. Peretz v. United States, 501 U.S. 923 (1991).
Although permitted to make limited preliminary remarks to the potential jury pool, Assistant Prosecutor Julie continued to outline a series of what she termed as basic facts.
She continued to say, the evidence will show that Richardson had a sexual liaison back in August 2016 with a man whom she had dated for a month.
However, according to Kraft, she broke it off with him but learned sometime in late April 2017 that she was pregnant.
Besides, according to the state, she “burst into tears” and told the doctor she couldn’t tell anyone about her pregnancy.
Kraft said; “She did not tell her parents, her friends or the baby’s father.”
Nonetheless, on May 7th, 2017 Richardson gave birth to a baby in the middle of the night as her family slept elsewhere in her home.
Kraft added; “Brooke took her own daughter’s life, destroyed all evidence of her birth and buried her in the backyard.”
According to Kraft who was extremely passionate had this to say; Richardson took specific action to conceal and destroy evidence.
Furthermore, Kraft added; “Because Brooke deliberately concealed her daughter’s birth and then buried her remains in the ground where they decomposed for two months during the summer of 2017; all that was left of her daughter’s body were the skeletal remains.”
Predicated on the Prosecutor presentation, she seems to be profiling Skylar Richardson as a monster. In generally a monster is often defined as a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human world’s social or moral order.
Meanwhile, defense lawyer Charlie Rittgers characterized the case as “a massive rush to judgment.”
Seemingly after there no reference by the state of Richardson allegedly burning the baby, he exploded on the prosecution.
Subsequently, Rittgers instructed potential jurors that a doctor who at first thought the baby’s bones were charred subsequently concluded he couldn’t be certain about that.
Rittgers added; “They failed to mention that in the report although they gave a press release about it. They don’t have the guts to come in here right off the bat and say they were wrong about it.”
Apparently, the defense intends to argue that in the six days between two interrogations of Richardson, investigators shifted from accepting her explanation that the child had been stillborn to coercing her into admitting she had cremated the baby.
Rittgers continued to say; “And they say, ‘Look, Skylar,’ as they hold her hand, act like they’re her friend, ‘Look it would be much better if you just say you cremated your child as opposed to throwing her into the middle of a fire.’ And she denies the burning 17 times in this interrogation. They didn’t tell you that.”
Ironically, in a sort of cynical way, he said the prosecutor’s office just did not hit a reset button at that point.
Furthermore Rittgers added, “They said, ‘Well, Skylar said it. We’ll just keep going with our own narrative. Skylar said it.’ They disregard all truth that does not fit into their story.”
It’s a story with varied elements of small-town drama involving teenage romance, the consequences that can spring from it and the judgments made about what was done along the way.
Richardson’s defense team said her doctor mistakenly told her delivery was not imminent.
Allegedly, if her doctor subsequent made mistake, then what legal actions should be considered? Or should a medical error preventable adverse effect of care (“iatrogenesis“) whether or not it is evident or harmful to the patient. This may include an inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis or treatment of a disease, injury, syndrome, behavior, infection, or other ailment. Now what?
Nevertheless Rittgers continued his argument and said; “She thinks she has two months, eight to 10 weeks. She thinks she can go to prom and graduate from high school before her mother gives her anguish about being pregnant. But she delivers 11 days later.”
Presumably, the defense is utilizing a strategy where-upon once witnesses are called appears to be that Richardson panicked when the child was born much sooner than she had anticipated.
However, both sides have acknowledged she returned to her OB-GYN group approximately two months after giving birth in order to get a refill for her birth control pills.
This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. At this point law enforcement officials became involved.
Kraft claimed “Brooke broke down and told her that she had the baby in the middle of the night and buried her in the backyard.”
In all probability Rittgers is not buying it. He described the encounter as helpful to the defense claim that Richardson’s actions were not murderous.
Rittgers added “She said, ‘What happened to your baby? Skylar tells her, ‘I had a stillbirth. I buried her in the backyard. Dr. Boyce is going to describe to you Skylar’s reaction when she tells her that she had a stillbirth tears rolling down her cheeks.”
At this time, the state believes evidence will show a sexual encounter with someone she had briefly dated was the starting point in a case that reached a teenage crisis level the following April when a doctor informed her she was pregnant. It is not clear what this have to do with the case. People get pregnant all the time on one night stands!
Sadly, if Richardson convicted on all of the charges, she could be sentenced to prison for the rest of her life.
Fittingly, once a jury is seated, it is estimated that the trial will last for a week or two.