WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Skylar Richardson’s defense team called their first witness to the stand on Tuesday - her father, Scott Richardson.
Prosecutors rested their case against the former Carlisle High School cheerleader Monday afternoon.
Richardson, now 20, is accused of killing her newborn in May 2017 and burying her in her family’s backyard.
Her attorneys maintain her baby was stillborn.
Richardson’s father took the stand and spoke about how Skylar was “daddy’s little girl” and loved working with children. He also spoke about her history with eating disorders.
“Started at about 12, but I didn’t notice until she was in the 8th grade,” he said.
Scott said he was very surprised when he found out she was pregnant, but if he and his wife knew about the birth, they would have taken her into their family.
“I think we would’ve been in shock and angry... but taken it into the family,” he said.
Defense Attorney Charlie Rittgers asked Scott what the biggest regret in his life is.
He responded not getting an attorney for Richardson’s second police interrogation, but told the jury “she would never hurt another living being - let alone a baby.”
Dr. John White said Richardson described her newborn to authorities as white, not breathing or moving and with no heartbeat - and he made his opinion on the cause of the baby’s death after reviewing several records.
“That indeed early in the morning on May 7 she delivered a stillbirth infant at approximately 3 a.m.,” he said.
White said he received excerpts from the interrogations on July 14 and July 20, 2017 where she described a stillbirth in her interviews with detectives.
He diagnosed Richardson with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
Dr. Andrew, an OBGYN at Hilltop, said when Richardson came it for an appointment on April 26, 2017, he confirmed she was pregnant. He measured her fundal height at 32 centimeters, which would mean Richardson was about 32 weeks pregnant.
However, White said Richardson was 39 weeks pregnant at her visit, which shows her fundal height was allegedly lagging by seven centimeters and could indicate IUGR.
Dr. William ‘Kim’ Brady, a maternal fetal medicine specialist, fundal height measurements taken during the third trimester can be inaccurate 60 percent of the time.
He also stated that an IUGR does not always cause stillbirth and there was no sufficient evidence to support Richardson had it.
Assistant Prosecutor Julie Kraft cross-examined White about fundal height measurement and Andrew’s previous testimony.
“You need to measure fundal height with a measuring tape. You cannot do a fundal height measurement with your hands,” White said.
Kraft asked if his opinion would have changed if he had known Andrew made the measurement with his hand.
“I didn’t think about that... can I get a few seconds. It would’ve made me less confident... but it would not have changed my overall opinion that she delivered a stillbirth,” White said.
Kraft: There is no reliable measurement you have to base your opinion on?
FULL COVERAGE | Skylar Richardson Trial
On Monday, Prosecutors presented the second video recording of a police interrogation in which Richardson makes a tearful admission to detectives.
“I think I’m the one who killed her. I think I killed her,” she said.
Professor Alan Hirsch of Williams College, who focuses on false confessions and interrogations, took the stand Tuesday and said he found two problematic statements in the interrogations:
Faine: It’s not as if we’re going to jump up and judge you.
Carter: You just tell us everything and then we can move on.
“That can break down an innocent person,” Hirsch said.
The police interrogation video showed the the first moments that Richardson’s parents were allowed to speak with her after her arrest where she tells her parents Annabelle may have been born alive.
“I tried to cremate the baby just a little,” she said.
“So you delivered a live baby, that’s what you’re saying,” her father asks.
“Yeah, but I wasn’t really sure," Richardson responds.
The defense says the officers befriended Richardson and coerced her into making the statements.
“Ultimately she was broken down,” Defense Attorney Charlie Rittgers said.
The jury was shown several text message exchanges between Richardson and her mom.
Shortly after going to see her OBGYN on April 26, 2017, her mom received an email from the office about the appointment.
“What does PT pregnant mean,” her mom asked.
“No clue I can call later or something and see,” Richardson responded.
“U should call right now. R u joking later. Ur life could potentially be over and u will call later,” her mom said.
Richardson told her mom it was a mistake the doctor’s office made.
The texts shown pinpointed how her mom was obsessive about her losing weight. Rittgers said she had struggled with an eating disorder for 6 years.
“These texts to her mother about her weight were common in her life,” he said.
The trial got underway last Tuesday with jury selection and is expected to last two weeks.
It is not known if Richardson will testify in her own defense.
Richardson was indicted on charges including aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering a child, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.
On Monday, Judge Oda announced the tampering with evidence charge was dropped, but all others remain.
She faces life in prison if convicted on all charges.