Judge: Richardson showed a ‘grotesque disregard for life,’ sentenced her to 7 days already served

Judge: Richardson showed a ‘grotesque disregard for life,’ sentenced her to 7 days already served
Brooke Skylar Richardson talks to her attorney Charles M. Rittgers after she was sentenced to three years community control, or probation, and seven days time served, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Warren County Judge Donald Oda's II courtroom at Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon, Ohio. Richardson was sentenced to three years community or control, or probation, and seven days of time served after bring round guilty of gross abuse of a corpse, (Source: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer)

WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Skylar Richardson was sentenced Friday to three years probation after being found guilty of abuse of a corpse.

A seven day jail sentence was commuted for time served.

She was found not guilty Thursday on the more serious charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangering.

Before the sentence was read, Richardson made a statement.

“I can sometimes be selfish. I’ve upset everyone. I’m forever sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m really, really sorry. And I understand. And thank you,” she said.

Judge Donald Oda spoke directly to Richardson.

"What often gets overlooked is how precious life is. Your life... Annabelle’s life. I firmly believe that if you would have made different decisions Annabelle would be here today.

Your actions showed a grotesque disregard for life," Judge Donald Oda said Friday.

The paternal grandmother, Tracy Johnson, spoke in court on Friday about the pain this has caused her and her family.

“2 years - 4 months - 1 week. In case you were wondering, that’s how old my granddaughter would be if she were here today. Broken, shattered, destroyed... none of those words describe how I feel,” she said.

Johnson said she found out her son Trey was the father from a post on Facebook on Jan. 29, 2018 because of a subpoena issue.

“Every May 7th... I don’t get to have a birthday party. I get to send balloons to heaven telling her how much her daddy loves her - I love her,” she said.

Judge Oda ordered Annabelle’s remains to be released to the Richardson family within seven days and said the Richardson’s must give access to the Johnson family.

If Richardson violates her probation, she could go to jail.

FULL COVERAGE | Skylar Richardson Trial

The former Carlisle High School cheerleader, now 20, was accused of killing her newborn in May 2017 and burying the remains in her family’s backyard.

Richardson, who didn’t show much emotion during the trial, cried when the not guilty verdicts were read.

She appeared relieved that the only charge she was convicted on was abuse of a corpse.

The jury, which included seven women and five men, took only four hours for them to reach the verdict.

MORE | Skylar Richardson found guilty of abuse of a corpse | Defense rests in Skylar Richardson trial, closing arguments expected Thursday

Richardson’s attorney, Charlie Rittgers, said he expected this outcome and an early verdict indicated it was in their favor.

“I truly believed in the case. Skylar is innocent,” he said. “In my heart of hearts, I believe Skylar had a stillborn baby.”

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said he felt Richardson got a fair trial and believes no medical cause of death contributed to the verdict.

“While we haven’t had the opportunity to speak to the jury my thought is in all likelihood they’re members on that jury who believe Brooke Richardson killed her child. But there were other people who believed we didn’t have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Richardson can expect to have her criminal record expunged three years after her probation ends.

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