A woman has been found not guilty of killing her newborn daughter after giving birth and burying its body in her back garden.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 20, delivered the infant in the toilet of her home in Ohio, USA, on May 7, 2017.
A jury today cleared the former teenage cheerleader of murder but convicted her of a lesser ‘abuse of a corpse’ charge.
The jury, comprised of seven women and five men, reached a verdict in less than five hours on Thursday, according to WCPO news station .
The defendant broke down in court as the verdict was read out by a jury foreman.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said there was a “presumption against incarceration” for the conviction and said it was unlikely that Richardson would see any jail time.
No one around her knew she was pregnant, and she did not reveal to anyone that her child had died, going on to graduate from high school just two weeks later.
Prosecutors at Warren County Court in Ohio, USA, claim she bashed in the baby’s skull after researching ‘how to get rid of a baby’.
Richardson confessed that she had buried the baby after a visit to a doctor.
She was driven to a police station by her father where she admitted to authorities that she “didn’t really want to have” the baby but “never meant to hurt her.”
The cheerleader’s lawyer said the baby was pale when she gave birth on her bathroom floor and there was no umbilical cord attached.
The baby was not breathing, they claimed, and she panicked and buried her shortly afterwards.
It is claimed she thought she had months until her due date, but the baby arrived just 11 days after she found out she was expecting in April 2017.
Among those who testified on the first day of the trial, was 21-year-old Trey Johnson who claims he is the baby’s father.
He said he and Richardson had sex twice in August 2016, once without protection, and that is when she likely fell pregnant. He was never told about the baby.
While her family were sleeping, she gave birth quietly and “destroyed all evidence of her birth and buried her in the backyard,” prosecutors said.
Dr William Andrew told the court that during a medical appointment, Richardson had told him: “I can’t have a baby. I’m going to college in September.”
Another medic, Dr Casey Boyce, said when she asked her about the pregnancy when she returned to the doctor’s office in July 2017, she started sobbing and told her: “I had it alone in my house and buried it in my backyard.
“She didn’t want me to tell anyone that I knew.” She then consulted with Dr Andrew and called the police.