WARREN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The 18-year-old teenager accused of killing, burning and burying her own newborn baby in her backyard is waking up under house arrest this morning.
Brooke "Skylar" Richardson pleaded not guilty to an aggravated murder charge in a brief appearance Monday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
County Prosecutor David Fornshell requested a $1 million bond, but Judge Donald Oda set it at $50,000 and ordered house arrest as a condition of her release.
Richardson was released from the jail less than three hours later, jail officials said early Tuesday.
It was her first court appearance since Fornshell announced the upgraded charge of aggravated murder against her last week.
Richardson gave birth to a full-term baby in May, less than 48 hours after attending her senior prom, on May 5, he said.
Then, just a few hours later, that infant was killed, burned and buried in her backyard.
Richardson also faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering.
In all, she faces life in prison.
Richardson's attorney has described her as a good girl who worked at the YMCA with children with special needs.
She was set to attend University of Cincinnati in the fall.
But that's all on hold after investigators discovered the charred, decomposing remains of the baby on July 14.
Neighbors remain in shock as investigators continue sorting through evidence in the case.
What they have gathered so far clearly shows Richardson took the life of her baby, according to the prosecutor.
"The defendant purposely caused the death of this child. And there is evidence to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the bones that were recovered from the residence in Carlisle were charred," Fornshell said.
A baby wasn't an "acceptable outcome" for a college-bound girl living with intense family pressure to maintain her image, Fornshell said.
"Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearance and how things appear to the outside world," he said, "and if members of the community were to find out that the Richardson girl was pregnant and perhaps gave birth, and even if, after giving birth, gave that child up for adoption, that was something that was simply not going to be accepted in that household, at least by Skylar and her mother."
Several questions remain unanswered:
- Will others be charged?
- Who is the father of the baby and what did he know?
- How did the infant die?