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Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 @ 10:32 AM
— Brooke Skylar Richardson is on trial and accused of killing her newborn baby and burying her in the backyard in May 2017.
Here’s a look at how the case unfolded.
August 2016: Baby is conceived
Trey Johnson, the baby’s father, testified that he had sex twice with Richardson while they were in a relationship in August 2016.
After the relationship ended within a month, they stopped communication, he said.
"Not at all," Johnson said when asked if Richardson ever told him she was pregnant.
April 26, 2017: Richardson learns she’s pregnant
Richardson visited Dr. William Andrew, the OB-GYN doctor who treated Richardson and had also delivered her and her brother. She went to get birth control.
Andrew testified about he visit. He said Richardson declined an exam, and there was a question about her last menstruation. He decided to give her a pregnancy test, which returned positive.
“She broke into tears ... she said she could not have a baby," Andrew said when he told Richardson she was pregnant.
May 5, 2017: Richardson attends senior prom
She went to the prom that night with then-boyfriend Brandon Saylor, who testified he didn’t suspect she was pregnant. She told him she was experiencing bad cramping, which he said he assumed was due to menstruation.
May 6, 2017: Richardson attends Cincinnati Reds game with family
Text exchanges between Richardson and Saylor show that Richardson was taking Saylor to the game with her family as a birthday present, and she said she still wanted to go even though she was experiencing cramping.
May 7, 2017: Richardson delivers baby in her home
Both sides agree that Richardson kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone, including her family. That night, she began to feel cramps, and she delivered the baby girl in her toilet, she said.
During an interrogation video played for the jury of Richardson’s first visit with police, she says the baby was white and stillborn, and she carried it with her to get a small digging tool that she used to dig a small hole and bury the baby. Then she covered it up.
July 12, 2017: Richardson returns for a doctor visit
Richardson returned to the OG-GYN to get birth control. Ashley Sparkman, a medical assistant there, testified that Richardson was 19 pounds lighter than when she had visited the office in April.
Dr. Casey Boyce, the OB-GYN who saw Richardson that day, asked Richardson about her pregnancy.
"She started crying. She said, 'I had it alone in my house and I buried it in my backyard,'" Boyce said.
Boyce said Richardson told her she "buried everything.”
"I was in a state of shock," Boyce said.
Boyce said she conferred with Dr. Andrew after Richardson left, and they decided to notify police.
July 14, 2017: Police interview Richardson for the first time and find remains in her backyard
During Richardon’s first interview with police, Retired Warren County Sheriff’s Lt. John Faine is seen in the video escorting Richardson into a small white room at the Carlisle Police Department. She is wearing a striped shorts jumpsuit with sunglasses propped on her head.
“You need to tell me what’s going on … am I going to be arrested?” Richardson says to Faine and a female officer.
Richardson signs a rights acknowledgement card and tells Faine she is going to the University of Cincinnati in the fall to study psychology and “maybe work with kids.”
When Faine lays out why she is there, telling Richardson that police received a call from a doctor’s office about a possible stillborn baby buried in the yard, Richardson begins crying.”
My parents are going to kill me … I didn’t want to tell them, but now they are going to find out,” Richardson says to Faine.
Investigators said Richardson told her she marked the site with a planter, so they found it quickly.
Warren County deputy Kelly McKay testified that Richardson was brought to the scene and pointed to the site.
“She was upset,” McKay said.
There was also an odor of decomposition, she said.
July 15, 2017: First remains delivered to forensic pathologist for autopsy
Dr. Susan Brown, forensic pathologist for the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, examined the remains, and then received more on July 20, 2017.
She examined the remains as well as other evidence that included the interrogation of Richardson and determined baby died from “homicidal violence.”
She said the exact cause of death cannot be determined because of the condition of the remains, and she added that she could not determine if the baby was alive at birth from what was available to examine in the remains.”
Nothing that I can say, just by looking at the bones, that there was a live birth,” Brown testified. “It is important to look at everything … not just at the autopsy table.”
Brown was questioned extensively about evidence that the baby’s bones were charred. The defense says forensic anthropologist Dr. Beth Murray made a mistake when she first said the bones were charred, and she recanted that testimony. Police, however, used that information to push for a confession that led to her arrest, the defense has said.
July 20, 2017: Second interrogation by police
Richardson is brought in for a second interview with police after investigators are told forensic anthropologist Dr. Beth Murray determined that the bay’s bones were charred.
The defense claims this made police overly aggressive in their second interview with Richardson.
“The second interrogation of Skylar, that is what the entire case is about,” defense attorney Charles M. Rittgers said.
She denies the burning 17 times in the interrogation, Rittgers said.
Then finally, Richardson told investigators, “OK, I touched the baby with a lighter and tried to cremate her.”
After that interrogation, she was charged with reckless homicide and taken into custody.