Trial for Carlisle teen delayed after judge’s decision on medical records

UPDATE @ 6 p.m. April 12:

Judge Donald Oda II issued a split decision concerning medical records for Brooke Skylar Richardson, meaning both the state and the defense may appeal the ruling.

Charles H. Rittgers said the defense team will appeal after the judge ruled physician-patient privilege did not apply to conversations between Richardson and a doctor at Hiltop OB-GYN, who after an appointment in July 12 called Carlisle police after said the teen had a child and buried it in the back yard.

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Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell told this media outlet the prosecution is also likely to appeal. A portion of information between a second physician and Richardson as well as others was ruled privileged by the judge unless a defense expert is call to testify based on information from that physician.

This means there will be no trial on Monday. Both the defense and prosecution say they plan to file a notice of appeal on Friday.

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m. April 12:

Both the prosecution and the defense indicated that they would appeal the decision by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Oda II concerning medical records for Brooke Skylar Richardson.

This means it is unlikely the Carlisle teen’s trial will begin Monday.

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During a brief hearing today, Oda said he would have a decision later this afternoon and asked if an appeal could be filed by 10 a.m. Friday. Both Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Stephen Knippen and defense attorneys Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers said that was possible.

“If somebody files a notice of appeal, we are all in agreement the trial for Monday is off,” Oda said.


Just two days after both sides in the case of a Carlisle teen accused of killing her baby and then burying it in the backyard of her home said they were ready for trial, it appears it may not begin as scheduled.

A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday concerning motions that Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II said he anticipated being filed in the Brooke Skylar Richardson case.

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“There is a good chance the disposition of these motions will affect Monday’s trial date,” Jennifer Burnside, court administrator said in an email to media outlets.

Richardson, now 19, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering, for the May 2017 death of her infant daughter whom defense attorneys say she named Annabelle.

Her trial is scheduled to begin Monday,

The sticking point appears be about Richardson’s medical records.

Defense attorneys Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers have filed a motion requesting the court prohibit any testimony protected by physician/patient confidentiality.

“The physician-patient privilege was created by the General Assembly to protect from public disclosure communications between physicians and patients in the treatment of patients,” the defense team said in the motion. “The physician-patient privilege belongs to the patient not to the physician.”

The defense argues the patient must consent to the release of the information or the information must fit within the parameters of specific rules.

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“Counsel submits that all communications by Skyler Richardson are confidential and there are no legislative exceptions .. and no mandatory reporting duty applies, the state must be prohibited from eliciting testimony the is statutorily protected by privilege,” the Rittgers wrote in the motion.

The prosecution has also filed a motion requesting the judge to rule on the issue of physician-patient privilege specifically finding the privilege does not apply to communication or advice between Richardson and Hilltop OB-GYN, her medical provider.

On Monday, during a brief hearing, Oda confirmed there had been some plea discussions, but no offer had been agreed to or had been extended by the state of Ohio.

Charles H. Rittgers said whatever ruling the judge makes on the motion is a “final appealable order” and can be directly appealed to the 12th District Court of Appeals.

“It would therefore stop any further proceedings in the case,” he said

Fornsell declined to comment.

Last week, Oda denied a request by Richardson’s attorneys that the jury be allowed to view her home and the interrogation room at the Carlisle Police Department.

MORE: Judge: Jury will not view teen home in Carlisle buried baby case

On March 5, the defense team filed a motion to exclude Richardson’s comments at the Carlisle Police Station outside the presence of officers.

After a 60-minute meeting in chambers with attorneys, the defense withdrew its motion to suppress those statements.

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