Brooke Skylar Richardson entered a Warren County courtroom for the first time in months today for a pre-trial hearing.
During the proceeding that lasted less than five minutes, Assistant County Prosecutor Steven Knippen indicated there has been not a plea offer in the case.
Both sides said they are ready for the September trial, but a final pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Aug. 19.
A pre-trial hearing in the case of a Carlisle teen accused of killing her newborn baby girl and burying her in the backyard of her parents’ house in May 2017 is scheduled today in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
After months of appeals, the hearing is scheduled for this afternoon in Judge Donald Oda II’s courtroom in the case of Brooke Skylar Richardson.
Richardson’s attorney, Charles H. Rittgers, said he expects the attorneys and prosecutors to meet with the judge to confirm both sides are on track for the scheduled Sept. 3 trial.
Rittgers said the defense plans to file additional motions before the trial. He would not elaborate on what they would be.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell declined comment.
In April the Ohio Supreme Court denied a motion to reconsider the defense’s appeal of a doctor-patient privilege issue in the case.
“We are obviously disappointed and we don’t necessarily agree (with the Supreme Court ruling) but that’s the Supreme Court and we will have to live with that decision,” Rittgers said.
In October, the appellate court sided with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office concerning doctor-patient privilege in the case.
Richardson, now 19, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering in death of her infant daughter. She is free on bond.
The appeals court ruled that physician-patient privilege doesn’t apply in the case and that the teen’s conversations with two doctors should be admitted as evidence in her upcoming trial.
Documents requesting the Ohio Supreme Court take the case were filed under seal, with the defense stating, “The physician-patient privilege statute exists for a specific purpose to create an atmosphere of confidentiality and to encourage patients to make a full disclosure of their conditions to their physicians without fear that those details will later become public.”
Both the defense and prosecution had appealed a split decision by Oda just days before the trial was scheduled to begin last spring.
Oda ruled that doctor-patient privilege did not apply to anything Richardson said about burying the infant’s remains. However, Oda ruled that another conversation Richardson had with a different doctor was privileged.
Richardson’s defense team argued that all of the teen’s conversations with her doctors about her pregnancy or what may have happened afterward were protected by doctor-patient privilege.
Warren County prosecutors, however, said a conversation Richardson had with one of her doctors — that she buried the remains in the backyard, which prompted the physician to call police — is not privileged because of a doctor’s duty to report abuse, neglect or other harm to a child.
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