Accused baby killer breaks down in tears
A former high school cheerleader who allegedly killed her newborn baby girl and buried her in the backyard broke down in tears during her first police interview, saying she "never meant to hurt her".
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, is accused of killing her newborn, a girl she named Annabelle, on May 7, 2017, when she was 17 years old.
She allegedly buried the baby in the backyard at her parents' home in the village of Carlisle, just north of Cincinnati. It was just a few days after her senior prom and weeks before she was set to start college. Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
On the second day of her trial, the jury watched a video of her first police interrogation, which went for 90 minutes.
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The video evidence showed her insisting she did not kill the infant.
Retired Lt John Faine, who interviewed the girl, asked her what made her think she might be pregnant.
"I was really big. I was pretty big," she responded.
"OK, you were getting a belly. Could you feel your baby?"
"Oh you … you could feel it."
Richardson said she didn't sleep the night of May 7, because she had sharp cramps and pains in her lower back.
In the footage, she is seen weeping as she recalls giving birth in her bathroom. She claims the baby fell out of her while she was on the toilet and wasn't breathing when she was born.
She said the newborn didn't have a heartbeat and wasn't making any noise. She said she couldn't remember if the baby had an umbilical cord.
"I didn't kill her though," Richardson said through tears. She said she had to bury the newborn because she "couldn't tell anybody".
"Is that really bad … I didn't mean any harm to her. Are you going to put me in jail because of that?" Richardson asked.
She repeatedly denied killing the baby, but said she was terrified to tell her parents about it.
She also said she wanted to bury her in the backyard because she wanted to put flowers on her. She told the interviewers she cleaned up the blood with a towel after burying the newborn, and threw the towel away a few days later.
At one point, Lt Faine asked if Richardson ever "considered giving herself an abortion", which she also denied.
"No. I just kinda thought maybe looking up ways to maybe see if I could not have it, but I never followed through with anything," Richardson said.
She did admit to Googling "how to not have a baby" or "how to get rid of a baby", but said she didn't think that much about it. "I don't really know what I planned to do."
Richardson's parents, Kim and Scott Richardson, entered the room about an hour into the interview.
Her father said she should have told them she was pregnant. "You did a horrible thing … you got pregnant, you had a baby in our house, and you didn't tell us," he said.
Kim Richardson told her that people get pregnant everyday and it's "not the end of the world".
In the footage, the girl repeatedly tells her parents doctors prescribed her birth control at her April 26 appointment. It's unclear whether this is true.
Trey Johnson, the 21-year-old believed to be the child's father, told the court he had a brief sexual relationship with Richardson, but said he never knew she had become pregnant.
He said they dated for a month in August 2016, and when it was over, she blocked him on social media and never contacted him again.
Earlier in the week, it was revealed the young girl texted her mother just hours after her birth, saying she was "speechless" and "happy" that her belly was back.
Jurors were read a text message that she sent her mother - who both sides say did not know she was pregnant - which read: "I'm literally speachless (sic) with how happy am.
"I am literally so excited now just for dinner to wear something cute yayyyy my belly is back and now I'm takin (sic) this opportunity to make it amazing."
She also reportedly visited the gym hours after giving birth and took a selfie in the mirror showing off her stomach.
Steve Knippen, an assistant prosecutor, told Warren County jurors that Richardson tried to commit "the perfect crime," by killing an unwanted baby and then attempting to go back to her "perfect life".
Witness Dr William Andrew testified that when he informed her on April 26 she was pregnant, she exclaimed: "I can't have a baby! I'm going to college."
The trial continues.