Ohio cheerleader accused of killing newborn was scared her parents would kill her if they discovered her secret pregnancy
During the two-hour interview with police, Brooke Skylar Richardson said she 'didn’t want to tell them, but now they are going to find out.'
A former Ohio cheerleader who allegedly killed her newborn daughter was heard on an interrogation tape played in court worrying about how her parents would react when they discovered her secret pregnancy. During the two-hour interview with police, Brooke Skylar Richardson said she "didn’t want to tell them, but now they are going to find out.”
“My parents are going to kill me,” she said, according to WHIO. In the video, Richardson appears both worried and upset as she tells police her daughter was not breathing after she gave birth to her in the middle of the night. “It came out when I pushed and it wasn’t breathing,” she says, tearfully. According to a report by The Cincinnati Enquirer, Richardson also told authorities she "never meant to hurt her", before asking them whether she's going to jail. She is now facing charges of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter.
The 20-year-old appeared at the Warren County Court earlier this week, more than two years after the death of her baby Annabelle. Richardson was 18-years-old when the murder took place only a few days after her high school prom. She is alleged to have also lit the baby on fire in an attempt to burn the corpse. According to her attorneys, she had given birth to a stillborn baby and buried the fetus in the backyard. However, it is believed that she murdered the infant on purpose as she did not want to be pregnant.
That said, her defense attorneys have argued in court that their client buried the baby because she was stillborn and Richardson didn't know what else to do. Throughout the tape that was played in court on Thursday, Richardson is heard repeatedly denying she was involved in her daughter's death. Her parents, who are brought into the interrogation room shortly after, are heard urging their daughter to tell the truth. “I’m sorry,” she responds, maintaining that the baby was never alive.
Richardson's parents later tell her they love her, but her mother also makes her aware she could be going to jail. “There’s nothing we can do now,” she tells her, per WXIX-TV. “It’s in the papers. We’re in the news. The neighbors are already calling me.” The mother also tells Richardson it makes her "sick" to have to lose her daughter when after doing everything "right" to raise her.
According to Associated Press, County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Skylar, as she is known, and her family had been worried about community reaction to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. “Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world,” Fornshell said. “You have a situation where, you know, she’s a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her attorney as you heard after the arraignment. And I think that kind of perception is one that Skylar wanted to perpetuate and her mother wanted to perpetuate.”
The 20-year-old had even admitted to police she had done an internet search for how to perform an abortion, but that she realized she was too far into her pregnancy and so she "did not try and kill my baby." Jurors are expected to hear another interrogation tape later in the trial. According to prosecutors, the tape has Richardson confessing to killing the newborn. Nonetheless, her attorneys claimed earlier this week the statements were forced out of her despite her repeated denials.
Her defense attorneys, the locally prominent father-and-son team of Charles H. Rittgers and Charles M. Rittgers, have blasted prosecutors for “a false narrative” that sensationalized the case. “What started as an 18-year-old high school girl who was frightened and saddened because of giving birth to a stillborn baby whom she named Annabelle and then telling her doctor of the stillborn and burial in the backyard turned into something sinister and grotesque,” they had said in a motion to move the trial.