Judge seals Brooke Skylar Richardson’s 2019 conviction

WARREN COUNTY — A Warren County Common Pleas Court judge has made his decision on whether or not to seal Brooke Skylar Richardson’s 2019 conviction.

In a decision issued Monday, Judge Donald Oda II ruled to seal Richardson’s 2019 gross abuse of a corpse conviction. Richardson, 23, was convicted after she had her baby in secret and buried her in the backyard of her Carlisle home in May 2017. She served 14 months of the three-year probation sentence.

An attorney for Richardson filed motion to seal her 2019 conviction on Aug. 12. The filing came 19 months after Oda granted a request to terminate Richardson’s probation early.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Brooke Skylar Richardson’s motion to seal hearing ends without judge’s decision

Prosecutors filed an opposition to Richardson’s motion Sept. 1, arguing that “sealing the records and conviction of the case would diminish the seriousness of her offense.”

A hearing regarding the motion to seal last week, Oda weighed whether or not to seal the records.

“My issue is whether or not I want the internet or the record to be the last word on this. The truth about what happened may never be known, but the facts, the unvarnished, unedited, unaltered facts about what is alleged to have occurred are here. And I do have a difficult time in taking those records away,” Oda said in court last week.

Oda said in his decision that both Richardson and the public had “significant interest” in the decision on whether or not to seal the conviction.

“However, the Court finds the Defendant’s interest in the matter outweighs the legitimate needs of the State of Ohio to maintain these records,” Oda wrote in his decision.

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Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell told News Center 7 Tuesday that his office does not plan to file an appeal to Oda’s decision.

Richardson was acquitted on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangering, and the Warren County prosecutor said that was most likely because the prosecution couldn’t produce a cause of death of the baby, News Center 7 previously reported.

At a hearing to end her probation, Richardson told the court that she wanted “to be a normal person again.” She also said she’d been working on her mental health and wanted to be able to go to college and eventually become a public defender to continue in society.

News Center 7 reached out to Richardson’s attorney for comment. They had no comment on the judge’s decision.