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Judge denies request for 3 separate trials in Skylar Richardson case

Another pre-trial hearing is set for Aug. 19
Brooke "Skylar" Richardson at her first court appearance on an aggravated murder charge Monday....
Brooke "Skylar" Richardson at her first court appearance on an aggravated murder charge Monday. (FOX19 NOW/file)
Published: Jul. 26, 2019 at 2:14 PM EDT
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CARLISLE, Ohio (FOX19) - A judge has denied Brooke “Skylar” Richardson’s request for three separate trials.

The Carlisle teen is accused of killing her newborn baby girl, burning her, and burying her in the backyard of her parents house in May 2017. Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering.

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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 from earlier this year, 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. 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.

An entry signed by Judge Donald E. Oda II, filed Friday, denies the request.

It reads, in part: “In this case, there is one continuous sequence of events that gives rise to the counts charged in the indictment. There are not multiple victims. There are not multiple criminal acts committed over and extended period of time. Counts one, two, and three each delineate separate legal theories of the same conduct. There is very little, if any, evidence that would not be presented at all three trials were the court to grant this motion.”

“Further, the court will instruct the jury that the charges are separate and distinct from each other,” it goes on to say.

MORE | Prosecutor: Teen mom accused of killing newborn had ‘no intention of having this baby’

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.

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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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