Parents of Ohio Woman Acquitted of Murdering Newborn Give First Interview

September 26, 2019 Updated: September 26, 2019

Brooke Skylar Richardson, the former cheerleader who was acquitted of murdering her newborn, will appear in a TV special where her parents are interviewed.

“I don’t know when it hit me but I was a grandmother and I never had any of the benefits of it,” her mother, Kim, said in the upcoming CBS special, according to the Daily Mail on Sept. 26.

“Our lives had been completely turned upside down,” she stated.

Richardson was acquitted on three of the four most serious charges, but she was convicted for abuse of a corpse. She had admitted to burying the newborn on her family’s property, but she said she didn’t kill the child and insisted she was stillborn.

Brooke Skylar Richardson cries
Brooke Skylar Richardson cries while receiving not guilty verdicts on aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges at Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon, Ohio on Sept. 12, 2019. (Screenshot/AP video)

Her father, Scott, said they “thought we were doing the right thing by cooperating” during an initial investigation. “It turned out to be the absolute wrong thing.”

The incident triggered a media firestorm, Kim said.

“It felt like Super Bowl-level. It was like the world stopped. Everyone wanted to know what was going on in our backyard and what had happened,” she said, according to the news outlet. “The sidewalk was lined with people sitting in lawn chairs. We have no privacy, we’re followed, stalked.”

Her mother went with her daughter’s claims that she “had a stillborn and she made a poor choice after that, not telling anyone and burying the baby.”

And her father said there was “no way” Richardson could have killed the child. “There’s no way she would ever hurt anyone,” he added.

Officials said that she was an 18-year-old high school senior when she gave birth in her parents’ home before burying the newborn in her family’s backyard. She didn’t tell her friends or family that she was pregnant.

Her attorneys admitted that she buried the child but insisted that the girl was stillborn. Prosecutors said that Richardson gave birth to a live infant and killed the child.

Former high school Cheerleader Brooke Skylar Richardson Ohio
A file photo of former high school Cheerleader Brooke Skylar Richardson, then 19, who was charged with aggravated murder and other offences at the Warren County Courthouse in Lebanon, Ohio, on April 12, 2018. (Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

Sentenced

Richardson, for the corpse abuse charge, received no jail time. According to People Magazine, she will instead serve three years of probation. She went home earlier in September.

She was also sentenced to seven days in a county jail and was credited for time served.

Richardson, now 20, spoke before her sentencing, saying, “I’m forever sorry,” according to the Journal-News. The young woman said that she hurt many people.

Judge Donald Oda ordered the remains of the child, who was posthumously named Annabelle, to be released to the girl’s family within seven days. Oda said the remains will be buried in a way accessible to Richardson’s family and the paternal Johnson family, the report said.

If she violates the conditions of her probation, Richardson could face as many as 12 months in prison, the judge said, according to the Journal-News.

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