A jury has reached a not guilty verity in the murder trial of Brooke Skylar Richardson, a young woman who faced life in prison after experiencing what she says was a stillbirth and burying the remains.
Richardson was finishing her senior year at an Ohio high school with plans to attend college in the fall when she was informed by a gynecologist that she was around 32 weeks pregnant, though she was actually 37-39 weeks along, according to evidence presented at trial. Just 11 days after learning of the pregnancy, she says she delivered a stillborn baby in the bedroom of her parents’ home and buried the remains in the backyard. No one knew of the pregnancy or the stillbirth until Richardson told her gynecologist of the birth in a follow-up visit.
The jury deliberated for less than five hours after the defense presented evidence indicating the police had coerced a false confession from Richardson and argued that a forensic pathologist who examined the remains later recanted her assertion that the body had been burned before it was buried.
Richardson was also acquitted of other charges including aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangerment. She was, however, found guilty of abuse of a corpse, which carries a sentence of six months to a year in prison.
Attorneys for Richardson said she hopes to attend college in the near future.