Skylar Richardson’s attorneys claim prejudice in baby death trial, ask for 3 separate trials

Skylar Richardson’s attorneys claim prejudice in baby death trial, ask for 3 separate trials
Brooke "Skylar" Richardson at her first court appearance on an aggravated murder charge Monday. (FOX19 NOW/file)

CARLISLE, Ohio (FOX19) - The Carlisle teen accused of killing her newborn baby girl, burning her, and burying her in the backyard of her parents house in May 2017, is now asking the court for three separate trials.

Brooke Skylar Richardson, who goes by Skylar, 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 “Annabelle,” burning the remains in the family’s fire pit and then burying the remains in the backyard.

In a motion obtained Wednesday, Richardson’s attorneys asked the court to order a separate trial for count one, a separate trial for counts two and three, and a separate trial for counts four and five.

Count one is aggravated murder, count two is involuntary manslaughter, count three is endangering children, count four is tampering with evidence, and count five is abuse of a corpse, according to court documents.

They cited a previous case when filing their request:

“There is ‘always a danger when several crimes are tried together, that the jury may use the evidence cumulatively’ and where the evidence 'upon any one of the charges might not have persuaded (the jurors) of the accused’s guilt, the sum of it will convince them as to all,” — U.S. v. Lotch.

Richardson’s attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers say they believe the state’s strategy is to use evidence in a cumulative effect to convict Richardson of jointly-tried but separate offenses.

They say Richardson’s right to a fair trial is prejudiced and asked the court to order separate trials to avoid an ‘impermissible joinder of offenses.’

In April, for the second time, the Ohio Supreme Court has declined to hear the Skylar Richardson case.

The Ohio Supreme Court earlier declined jurisdiction in the Richardson case.

Last October, that court ruled that Richardson’s statements, reactions, and conversations during her physician appointments before and after delivering her baby can be offered at trial.

The defense team had argued that physician-client privilege is protected under law.

Shortly after her arrest, Prosecutor David Fornshell said Richardson “purposely” caused the death of her baby. He described Richardson’s high-pressure life with a family “obsessed” with external appearances.

Another pre-trial hearing is set for Aug. 19. Her trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 3.

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