Woman accused of killing newborn acquitted of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter

/ CBS/AP

A young Ohio woman who prosecutors said killed and buried her unwanted newborn in her backyard was acquitted by jurors Thursday, CBS Cincinnati affiliate WKRC reports. The Warren County jury deliberated for four hours before acquitting 20-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges.

She was found guilty of corpse abuse and is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. Richardson faces up to one year in prison but could get probation since she's a first-time offender.

Prosecutors contended that the high school cheerleader wanted to keep her "perfect life." They said she hid her unwanted pregnancy and buried her baby in her family's backyard in May 2017, within days of her senior prom.

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Her defense said the baby she named Annabelle was stillborn and that the teen was sad and scared. In two police interviews, Richardson said the child may have been alive, however, and that she may have killed the baby by squeezing her too hard.

A forensic pathologist testified for the prosecution that she concluded the baby died from "homicidal violence." Prosecutors said Richardson had searched on the internet for "how to get rid of a baby."

The remains were found in July 2017 in Carlisle, a village about 40 miles north of Cincinnati.

First published on September 12, 2019 / 5:20 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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