Prosecutor: Teen mom accused of killing newborn had ‘no intention of having this baby’
CARLISLE, OH (FOX19) - In April, the attorney for Skylar Richardson, who is accused of killing her newborn, moved to block testimony from her doctor, who police say, tipped them off to the baby buried in her backyard, citing patient-client privilege.
On Tuesday, judges in the 12th Appellate District Court heard arguments from both sides in the case to determine which evidence will be allowed at her trial.
"This court has found when a patient has disclosed privileged information to multiple parties its admissible in court," Assistant Prosecutor Kirsten Brandt said, citing prior criminal cases.
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.
"There is no connection between this idea, that they [the prosecution] can stand in place for an unborn fetus, and then assert a privilege or waive a privilege. That is not supported by Ohio Law," said Defense Attorney Neal Schuett.
Judge Robert Ringland quickly challenged him, saying an unborn fetus is an individual and under Ohio law, is a person.
"It's a person," said Ringland pointedly. "And, if it's a person, then I think under Ohio law, a child is a person under the age of 18."
Brandt said Richardson wants to use doctor-patient privilege when it helps her, but wants to block it when it's incriminating to her.
"She can't have it both ways," she said.
Her defense attorney's argued Richardson's reaction to finding out she was pregnant was normal for a teen mother.
Yet prosecutors said her reaction was extreme. They said she cried and told doctors she had no intention of having the child.
"Dr. Boyce, in her words, said Dr. Andrew was utterly concerned," said Brandt. "Dr. Andrew specifically told the defendant, if you have any feelings that you're going to hurt this baby, you need to let us know immediately."
Schuett said the doctor did not notify law enforcement.
"If he had concerns about April 26, he would have notified as required by law and he didn't," he said. "Our position is, that none of the communications are admissible."
The judges did not issue a decision in court.
It could take up to 60 days before the appeal is settled.
Oda sealed the 11 stipulations and ruled in favor of the state, saying the information shared is admissible in court because her doctor suspected child abuse.
Richardson, now 19, 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.
Shortly after her arrest last year, Prosecutor David Fornshell said said Richardson "purposely" caused the death of her baby. He described Richardson's high-pressure life with a family "obsessed" with external appearances.
Her trial was scheduled to begin in on Monday, April 16, but it has been vacated until further notice.
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