Cheerleader charged with killing her newborn daughter, burning the remains and burying them seeks three separate trials
Brooke Skylar Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence, and gross abuse of a corpse; her attorneys says the trial will be prejudiced if she's tried for all at once
A former Ohio cheerleader has asked a court for three separate trials to deal with her five charges in connection with the death of her newborn daughter, whom she allegedly killed before burning her and burying her in her parents' backyard.
In July 2017, Brooke Skylar Richardson was charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence, as well as gross abuse of a corpse, Daily Mail reports.
20-year-old Skylar, then only 18, told her doctor that her baby had been stillborn and that she'd buried her at her parents' residence in Carlisle, Cincinnati.
The incident took place just days after her senior prom in May 2017 and a month before she was due to start college.
While Skylar has maintained the child was stillborn, her parents claim they were never aware their daughter was expecting. Her prom photo, taken two days before she gave birth, shows a visible bump. According to Fox 19, her attorneys Rittgers & Rittgers are now arguing that she must have separate trials in order to avoid an "impermissible joinder of offenses" as her right to a fair trial is prejudiced with the various charges.
The lawyers have asked the court, in a motion filed Wednesday, for a separate trial for the charge of aggravated murder.
Under their plan, Skylar would face involuntary manslaughter and endangering children charges in another trial.
And the tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse charges would be tried in a third trial.
According to Skylar's legal team, she is at risk of the jury using all the evidence "cumulatively" if all her crimes are tried at one go. That said, her trial is scheduled to commence on September 3.
County Prosecutor David Fornshell has said: "Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world. You have a situation where, you know, she's a cute recent high school graduate. She was a cheerleader, described a good girl by her attorney. And I think that kind of perception is one that Skylar wanted to perpetuate and her mother wanted to perpetuate."
Fornshell previously claimed Skylar had not only buried her dead baby girl, but burnt her body as well. However, forensic experts later confirmed there were no signs the baby was burned. Skylar's defense attorneys slammed prosecutors for playing "a false narrative" that in turn sensationalized the case.
They have maintained the teenager did not kill her baby and that an expert witness concluded the child did not have signs of burning or trauma.
The case first came to light when the doctor, who Skylar confided in a few weeks before giving birth, told police about the baby. When authorities arrived at her doorstep, Skylar told them she had given birth to Annabelle at around 3 am May 7, 2017. However, she claimed her daughter never opened her eyes and so she cradled her for hours, desperately hoping for the baby to respond, but in vain. She then proceeded to bury the child in a spot in the yard, where she dug a small grave with a garden spade and sprinkled pink rose petals on top.