Third attorney added to defense team in Carlisle buried baby case

Brooke Skylar Richardson, charged with murder for the death of her baby then burying her in the back yard of her Carlisle home, appeared for a pre-trial hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court Monday, July 1 in Lebanon. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

With trial less than a month away, a third attorney has been added to the defense team for a Carlisle woman accused of killing her newborn baby girl in 2017 and burying her in her parents’ backyard.

Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers have represented Brooke Skylar Richardson since her arrest. She is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endanger children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

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On Friday, attorney Neal Schuett, an attorney with the Rittgers’ firm, was added as part of the defense team.

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The defense said Schuett will likely not be sitting at the defense table at trial. He will be utilized for appellate purposes and legal briefing. Schuett argued a defense motion concerning Richardson’s medical records at the 12th District Court of Appeals.

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The addition to the legal team came a day after the defense team filed a motion asking the indictment against Richardson be dismissed due to “defects in the institution of prosecution of this case … the state’s deprivation of Miss Richardson’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process.”

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The motion is also asking for grand jury testimony to be reviewed “in camera” or by a judge and attorneys, specifically that of forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray, who examined the remains of the baby girl when they were unearthed.

The defense attorneys say the prosecution presented information about Murray’s testimony to a grand jury when seeking to indict Richardson that she has since recanted.

“The indictment and prosecution in this case are defective because both are based on Dr. Murray’s recanted belief that the bones she examined were charred,” the defense attorneys wrote in the motion.

Murray later realized that her belief that the bones were charred was incorrect after a second examination of remains on Aug. 17, 2017, according to the defense.

“While the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office unintentionally presented false information to the grand jury in this case, the indictment and prosecution are defective all the same and should be dismissed in accordance with Miss Richardson’s rights to a fair trial and due process,” the defense team said in the motion.

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The prosecution has not yet responded to the request for dismissal.

Trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 3 in Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II’s courtroom.

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