WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Warren County for the trial of woman accused of killing and burning her newborn baby before burying the infant in the backyard of her parents’ house.
Skylar Richardson is facing charges including aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering a child, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.
It all began back in May 2017, when Warren County prosecutors believe Richardson, then a teenager, gave birth to a baby girl and killed her.
According to prosecutors, Richardson burned the newborn in the family fire pit then buried the remains in the backyard of her parents’ house.
“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,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said back in 2017.
As for Richardson’s motivation?
“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,” Fornshell said.
Defense documents show Richardson called the baby she’s accused of murdering “Annabelle”.
The now 20-year-old’s lawyers claim she’s not guilty.
They say she’s a good person and the baby was stillborn.
In an interview with Cincinnati Magazine, family members supported Richardson’s innocence and claimed that no one except the teen knew about the pregnancy until she gave birth to a stillborn baby.
Richardson’s lawyers asked for three separate trials. A judge denied that request.
On Aug. 1, Richardson’s attorneys filed the motion to dismiss her indictment stating Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a forensic anthropologist, recanted a statement she made about the baby’s bones, which she examined on July 20, 2017, being charred.
“While the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office unintentionally presented false information to the grand jury in this case, the indictment and prosecution are defective all the same and should be dismissed in accordance with Miss Richardson’s right to a fair trial,” the motion reads.
However, the prosecution called the motion groundless and nonsensical.
Richardson’s attorneys then filed a motion to request of change of venue on Aug. 16, claiming there had been a high level of pretrial publicity that would interfere with her having a fair trial.
On Aug. 19, the judge denied the motions for a dismissal of the indictment and a change of venue.
If convicted, Richardson faces life in prison.