- Brooke Skylar Richardson is being charged for the murder of her newborn child in May of 2017.
- Recent text messages incriminate Richardson of disposing of the body in her backyard and feeling “happy” moments later.
- Prosecutors are using the text messages to demonstrate Richardson’s guilt, while the defense is citing other factors that absolve her of wrongdoing.
On May 7, 2017, Brooke Skylar Richardson, a senior in high school in Warren County, Ohio at the time, gave birth inside her parents’ home without waking anyone. She allegedly killed the newborn and buried her in the backyard marking the grave with a potted flower.
Incriminating Text Messages Surface
Richardson, now 20-years-old, is being charged with the following crimes:
- aggravated murder
- involuntary manslaughter
- gross abuse of a corpse
- tampering with evidence
- child endangerment
On Wednesday, state prosecutors drew attention to text messages that Richardson sent to her mother within a day of giving birth and killing her baby. The following are two of the texts that were sent:
- “I’m literally so excited for dinner to wear something cute yayy (sic) my belly is back now I am takin (sic) this opportunity to make it amazing.”
- “I’m literally speechless with how happy I am. My belly is back omg I am never ever ever evertrrr (sic) letting it grt (sic) like this again your (sic) about to see me look freaking better than before omg.”
Prosecutors also mentioned that Richardson had researched “how to get rid of a baby” after she discovered she was pregnant.
The Prosecution Appeals to Tangible Evidence
The murder trial of Brooke Richardson began with two very different stories presented in the opening statements. The prosecution said:
“When the moment of truth was upon her, she took her newborn’s life and disposed of that body in the yard behind their home. She then cleaned up the entire bloody mess and destroyed any evidence of her daughter’s existence before climbing into bed and going to sleep.”
Prosecutor Steve Knippen also mentioned that she responded to a text from her current boyfriend who had asked how she was feeling. “I’ll tell you about it later but last night was like the worst night ever and I didn’t go to sleep till (sic) 5:30 but I feel sooooooo (sic) much better this morning I’m happy.”
The Defense Appeals to Psychological Sympathy
The defense lawyer, Charles M. Rittgers, offered a different take on the actions of Brooke Richardson. He insisted that Richardson had a stillbirth and that she comforted the child and named her Annabelle. He also attempted to explain away the texts that she had sent concerning her physical appearance.
Rittgers contends that Richardson had an eating disorder that caused her to be apprehensive about her pregnancy. Her complicated relationship with her mom, who is described as being “obsessed” with tracking and controlling her daughter’s weight, contributed to Brook’s decision to handle her pregnancy the way she did.
In fact, after the medical center accidentally sent an email to Richardson’s mom informing her of the pregnancy, she sent a text message to Brook saying her life “would be over” if she really was pregnant and that she would have “no future.”