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Probation Ended Early for Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Woman Convicted for Burying Her Newborn Daughter


An Ohio woman convicted for burying her newborn baby was released early from probation on Tuesday. Judge Donald E. Oda II determined that he saw nothing to indicate Brooke Skylar Richardson, 21, would break the law again.

Richardson was acquitted of more serious charges last year by a jury in Warren County, Ohio. Prosecutors said she learned she was pregnant during a visit to an OB/GYN in April 2017. She hid this development from her family. The defendant soon gave birth in their home, and surreptitiously buried the baby in their backyard. Again, she told no one. The circumstances only surfaced when another doctor later confronted her about the results of her pregnancy.

Authorities argued that the self-absorbed Richardson murdered her baby, and only came up with a name for the child–Annabelle–after police got involved. The defense maintained she was suffering in all of this too. Prosecutors focused on the apparently cheerful attitude of the defendant in text messages and pictures from after the burial.

The defense asserted at trial that Annabelle’s death was a stillbirth, not a murder. Richardson long suffered from an eating disorder, and it was not unusual for her pregnancy to fly under the radar because her weight often fluctuated, they said.

Attorney Charles Rittgers told the Law&Crime Network in a September 2019 interview that his client’s apparently cheerful attitude was from her communicating with her mother and boyfriend, two people she did not want to know about her stillbirth.

Jurors cleared Richardson of the more serious charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering children, but they did convict her of abuse of a corpse. Oda took the defendant to task during sentencing. He said that he believed that Annabelle would be alive if Richardson had made different decisions in the case. The judge sentenced her to three years of community control, a form of probation. Nonetheless, he cut short the punishment on Tuesday upon a request from the defense.

“I am shocked he terminated probation,” said Law&Crime Network host and criminal defense lawyer Linda Kenney Baden. “I think it is the right move but I didn’t think given the public pressure the Judge would do it.”

[Mugshot via Warren County Sheriff’s Office]

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