Brooke Skylar Richardson, the ex-high school cheerleader from Ohio accused of murdering and burying her newborn daughter was acquitted on Thursday by jurors.
The Warren County jury deliberated for 4 hours before reaching the verdict of acquitting Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, of the aggravated murder, child endangerment, and involuntary manslaughter charges.
Richardson as well as her parents, who were seated in the front row, sobbed as the verdict was being handed.
However, the jurors found her guilty for gross abuse of a corpse for which sentencing will be held in the court on Friday. It carries a maximum penalty for up to one-year prison sentence, but she may get probation.
The prosecutors contended that Richardson didn’t have any intention of keeping her newborn and wanted to maintain a perfect life. They said that she concealed her pregnancy and upon giving birth, she buried the newborn in her parents’ backyard back in May of 2017.
Richardson’s defense, however, refused that she murdered her daughter whom she named as ‘Annabelle.’ They claimed that the baby was stillborn and that Richardson was scared at the time.
The remains of the baby were discovered in July of 2017 in the village Carlisle.
Richardson would have faced a lifetime in prison sentence if she were convicted.
The prosecutors said that the cheerleader had looked up the internet to know how to get rid of an infant. In fact, they even played a video clip for the jurors of Richardson’s interview with the police where she said the infant might have made noises and moved.
Stuart Bassman, a Cincinnati psychologist said that Richardson was manipulated for making untrue statements during the interrogations.
Her lawyers had asked twice to move Richardson’s trial, saying that massive publicity was being fuelled by the prosecution. However, the Warren County Judge Donald Oda II refused their notions.