It was a busy February in the case of Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle teenager accused of killing her infant and then burning and burying the body in the backyard of her home.
Here are five events that happened, which lead into a hearing in the case today and a trail that’s scheduled to begin April 16:
1. A defense motion asked for change of venue
Charles H. Rittgers and Charles M. Rittgers filed a motion on Feb. 9 for a change of venue to move the trial “for the reasons contained in the following memorandum.”
That memorandum apparently was four pages long and contained specifics of the case. It was scrubbed from the record.
2. The change of venue motion was met with a strong response
Last year, Warren County Judge Donald Oda II issued a gag order prohibiting all parties involved in the case from making public statements about the case.
In his response to the change of venue motion, Oda said, “this case is not going to be tried in the press.”
3. The defense asked the judge to reconsider
The defense team filed to ask the judge to change his mind about restrictions on its change of venue motion to move the trial out of Warren County.
“The court’s entry, which is now available to the press, states that the defense counsel’s motion for change of venue is ‘more that a little disingenuous.’ The court’s order, which is now in the public sphere, is casting doubt as to the defense counsel’s sincerity, credibility, and truthfulness by indicating that the court is troubled by the defense memorandum,” the Rittgers team stated in the motion.
The motion notes the defense was never instructed by the judge to file motions under seal.
4. The prosecution opposed the change of venue
In a response, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Steven Knippen said the request filed by Brooke Skylar Richardson’s attorneys two weeks ago is premature.
The prosecution pointed to several “high profile” cases that have received substantial publicity and media attention, but have not required change of venue, including trial and two re-trials of of Ryan Widmer who is convicted of killing his wife, Sarah.
5. An appeals court lifted the gag order in the case
“To presume that there may be news coverage that threatens the administration of justice, whether that be against the state or the defendant, is nothing more than pure speculation,” reads the court opinion, which was issued on Feb. 25.
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