Judge ends probation for mother acquitted of killing newborn


LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A young Ohio woman acquitted of killing and burying her newborn in her family’s backyard has been released from a probation term she was serving for abuse of a corpse.

A judge granted Brooke Skylar Richardson’s request during a court hearing Tuesday. She had served about 14 months of a three-year probation term imposed in September 2019.

Richardson had sought to have her probation terminated so she could attend law school to become a public defender. Her attorney noted Richardson is taking college classes and working part time.

Richardson buried her newborn daughter just days after her senior prom in 2017. She had never told anyone she was pregnant, and her defense said the baby she called Annabelle was stillborn.

Prosecutors argued at trial that the high school cheerleader had hid her unwanted pregnancy and killed the baby so she could get on with her “perfect life.” However, medical experts who testified for both prosecution and defense agreed there was no physical proof the baby was born alive.

Richardson was acquitted of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. She had faced up to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Tracy Johnson, the baby’s paternal grandmother, asked the judge to reject Richardson’s request, saying, “I don’t think her serving the three years of probation is too much to ask.” She said Richardson has shown no remorse.

Richardson, though, said at the hearing that she is remorseful and apologized for her actions. She told the judge, “I suffer a lot in silence,” and noted she has undergone mental health treatment.