Teen cheerleader accused of burning, burying newborn asks court to drop charges

An Ohio woman who’s weeks away from standing trial for allegedly killing her newborn daughter and burying her in her parents’ backyard has asked for all charges against her to be dismissed.

Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and child endangerment for her child’s death in 2017.

Earlier this month, her defense attorney filed a motion for dismissal due to “defects in the institution of prosecution of this case … the state’s deprivation of Miss Richardson’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process,” according to The Journal-News.

In the motion, the defense highlighted issues with alleged comments made by forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray—who they said stepped back on claims that the newborn’s remains were burned before burial. Defense attorneys said her initial determination was presented as evidence to a grand jury who ultimately indicted Richardson.

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“Whether the bones were burned or not, that baby was still dead, had unexplained skull fractures, and was buried the backyard. I don’t understand why the burning takes it up such a notch,” Murray reportedly wrote in a September 2017 email to forensic pathologist Dr. Susan Allen.

Richardson was 18 when she gave birth to a girl whom she’s accused of burning and dismembering before burying in the backyard of her parents’ Carlisle home in May 2017.

A cause of death remains unclear. The defense has argued that Richardson had a stillborn who didn’t meet the criteria to be considered a child, People reported.

Prosecutors dismissed the dismissal request as “groundless” as Murray hadn’t spoken on if the outer layers of the newborn’s body were burned. They claim she only commented on the state of the recovered bones.

“Therefore, her opinions do not negate evidence that Richardson burned her baby. They certainly do not negate evidence that Richardson caused the death of her baby, created a substantial risk to the health or safety of her baby or buried the baby,” they wrote in response, according to The Journal-News.

Richardson has been out on bond since August 2017. Her trial is scheduled to begin on September 3.

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[Feature Photo: Skylar Richardson via AP/FOX19 NOW/Michael Buckingham]