Court: OB-GYN can testify at trial of teen mom accused of killing newborn
CARLISLE, OH (FOX19) - In a blow to the defense and a huge win for prosecutors, an appeals court ruled Monday an OB-GYN can testify at the trial of a teen mom accused of killing her newborn.
In April, the attorney for Skylar Richardson moved to block testimony from her doctor, who police say tipped them off to a baby buried in her backyard, citing patient-client privilege.
“In considering the competing interests, we fail to see how applying the privilege to Richardson’s statements and reactions furthers the purposes of the physician-patient privilege above the interest of the public in detecting crimes in order to protect society," judges wrote in their decision.
The court cited an Ohio law related to reporting child abuse or neglect in its decision.
“We’re obviously very happy that the court of appeals rejected the defense’s attempt to keep the jury from hearing about statements and reactions that the defendant made during those doctor appointments, which go to the central issue of whether she ever had any intention of having that baby,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering. The former high school cheerleader, then 18-years-old, is accused of killing her newborn baby, burning the remains in the family’s fire pit and then burying the remains in the backyard.
Police received the tip on July 14, 2017 from Hilltop OB-GYN Casey Boyce in reference to a “stillborn infant,” according to an incident report.
A seven-page ruling handed down in April by Judge Don Oda considered 11 stipulations before the court having to do with Richardson’s medical records and visits to the gynecologist as well as conversations which led to her doctor calling police about her baby buried in the back yard.
Richardson’s trial was scheduled to begin in April, but was delayed while issues like the doctor’s testimony were worked out.
It remains unclear when the trial will be held.
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