Defense requests early probation release for Brooke Skylar Richardson, Carlisle woman convicted of abusing baby’s corpse

Attorneys for a Carlisle woman convicted last year of abusing the body of her baby girl whom she buried in her parents' backyard are asking for an early release from community control.

Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 21, was convicted by a Warren County jury in September 2019 of the fifth-degree felony in the death of her baby girl on May 7, 2017. Richardson gave birth to the baby in secret and buried her in the backyard.

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She was acquitted on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering following months of litigation and a lengthy trial.

Just days after the verdict, Judge Donald Oda II sentenced Richardson to three years of community control. She faced up to 12 months in prison. At sentencing, Oda told Richardson she would be incarcerated if she violated conditions of her community control.

Last month, Richardson’s attorney filed a motion to mitigate her sentence and terminate the less than two years left of her remaining probated sentence, arguing she had done everything required during her 14 months of probation. According to the attorney, she has a job, is in college and continues with a mental health treatment.

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“She has completed two semesters of college, has a cumulative GPA of over 3.8 and currently has a GPA of 4.0 for most recent semester,” attorney Charles M. Rittgers wrote in the motion. “In addition to school, she has also worked approximately 10 hours per week. She sought alternative employment, but was rejected each time due to the fact she is on probation."

Richardson is working at the Rittgers and Rittgers law office in Lebanon.

Rittgers also pointed out Richardson has been “actively engaged in her recovery and continuing treatment for her mental health.”

Oda set a hearing for Tuesday. As of Friday, there is no response from the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office about the motion.

“I don’t have any comment on her motion. The court is going to decide that issue on its own,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

Following a seven-day trial, the jury returned a verdict on Sept. 12, 2019, convicting Richardson of the one charge. A fifth charge of tampering with evidence was dismissed by Oda earlier in the trial after he determined the prosecution had not proven its case.

All sides agreed Richardson didn’t tell friends or family about a pregnancy she learned about in April 2017, had a baby in secret and buried her in the backyard.

The prosecution said Richardson, then an 18-year-old Carlisle High School senior, had a sexual relationship with an older boy and became pregnant, then broke off the relationship. Richardson later learned she was pregnant but did nothing to plan for the baby and never planned to have the child. On May 7, 2017, prosecutors said, she delivered the infant in secret, killed her and buried her in the backyard. She told no one about her actions.

Defense attorneys said Richardson was a scared teen who delivered a stillborn daughter she named Annabelle then buried her in the yard so she could see the site from a bedroom window. She marked the grave with a pot of flowers. She did not harm her baby, but delivered the small newborn who suffered from growth restriction after a doctor said she was 32 weeks along, her attorneys said.

TRIAL COVERAGE

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

‘There was no proof at all’: Juror describes Brooke Skylar Richardson verdict decision

‘Bring closure for Annabelle’: Richardson family to bury baby’s remains more than 2 years later

WATCH all videos from Brooke Skylar Richardson trial

Timeline: Events in the Carlisle buried baby case

Quotes: Key things said during the Richardson trial

The 28 people who testified over 6 days

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