The trial for a cheerleader accused of killing her baby daughter and burying her in the backyard of her parents' home was told Wednesday that she was sexually abused as a 12-year-old by a boy she trusted & # 39; 39; and that the alleged abuse gave her a personality disorder.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, was 18 when in the middle of the night in her suburbs in Ohio, she gave birth to a baby girl she called Annabelle.
She says that Annabelle was stillborn and that, after waiting for her to wake up, she buried her in her back yard. The teenager at the time did not tell anyone about the pregnancy and it was only discovered two months after birth when she went to a gynecologist.
Prosecutors say she killed Annabelle and then set her on fire and she just didn't want to be a mother.
On Wednesday, the eighth day of her trial, her lawyers called a psychologist to the stand that had worked with her.
He testified that Skylar, as she is known, was sexually abused and inflicted on her a personality disorder that excited her to please people and gave her an innate fear of being rejected.
Brooke Skylar Richardson is shown in court on Wednesday where a psychologist told jury members that she had confided in him about sexual abuse when she was 12
Dr. Stuart Bassman told the court that Skylar has a & # 39; personality disorder & # 39; developed as a result of the abuse, which meant that they were & # 39; desperate & # 39; was to please people and was terrified that she would be abandoned by parents
& # 39; Skylar shared with me, when she was about 12, she had uncertainty about her appearance, whether she would like to be accepted, typical behavior … so a boy started to show her attention, a boy who Skylar looked up, who admired Skylar.
& # 39; She started responding and then he started abusing her. He started sexually abusing her, & Dr. 39 said. Stuart Bassman.
He further said that as a result of the incident and the subsequent & # 39; disorder & # 39; could not defend himself.
Prosecutors objected to the testimony and claimed that it was not relevant.
Other witnesses who called to the booth were high school teachers at her school who said she often sat with autistic children at lunch so they didn't have to eat alone, and her classmates who said she was so gentle at school that she had to defend her from bullies.
& # 39; I have never seen Skylar mean to another person, she would never hurt another person, especially her own baby, & # 39; said a teenage girl.
Her younger brother, Jackson, also testified. He described her as his & # 39; best friend & # 39; and remembered how she would steal food, such as donuts, when her parents were not at home.
Skylar, who remained relatively emotionless throughout the process, cried as he spoke.
The last witness to the defense as a marketing expert who had made a virtual design of the family's home.
It is unclear why they called him further than trying to humanize Skylar and show the bathroom where she gave birth and her bedroom.
Skylar and her father Scott Richardson are shown in court on Wednesday morning. He testified on Tuesday that he loved her, never knew she was pregnant and that the biggest regret of his life was that she had no lawyer when she confessed that she had set fire to the baby
The defense showed photos of the bathroom on the upper floor in the house of Skylar, where she gave birth to the baby in the middle of the night of May 2017
They also showed images of the teen's bedroom where she was going to give birth
The interior of the family home in Carlisle, Ohio, was also shown to the jury
Defense lawyers also showed a close-up image of the toilet. Skylar said her baby fell into it
The case is likely to go to a jury on Thursday after closing arguments. If he is convicted, Skylar stands for life in prison.
She is accused of murder, manslaughter, gross mistreatment of a corpse and child threats.
The teenager conceived Annabelle in August 2016 after a brief affair with another teenager, Trey Johnson.
She says she knew she was pregnant until April 2017, long after she broke up with Johnson, during a visit to a gynecologist to get birth control pills.
The doctors told her that she had about 10 weeks to give birth to the baby, but 11 days later she gave birth in her parents' house around 3 o'clock.
Skylar told no one in the 11 days between the two incidents that she was pregnant. She convinced her mother, who received an e-mail referring to her pregnancy, that it was a mistake and started taking birth control pills.
Skylar Richardson is pictured on May 5, two days before she gave birth, with her then boyfriend Brandon Saylor before they went to the ball. She had a full baby lump but no one realized she was pregnant – although doctors had told her she was – because her weight fluctuated so much
Skylar and Brandon are pictured in March 2017, about six weeks before she gave birth, during a spring break. He was not the father of the baby and started dating her when she was already pregnant
Brooke Skylar Richardson is shown in court in Ohio on Wednesday. She is on trial for murder and manslaughter for having a baby and then buried her in her backyard in May 2017. The teenager took this selfie hours after birth after going to the gym
As part of their defense, Skylar's lawyers showed photos of how her weight fluctuated before she became pregnant (above) within the six-month period. She had suffered from anorexia years ago, her family says, and was under pressure from her mother to stay slim
She later said she did not know what she would do if the baby was born and she & # 39; did not think about it & # 39 ;.
After the birth of the baby, Skylar dug her a shallow grave in her family's garden and buried it, marking the spot with flowers.
Later that day she sent her mother Kim – who was obsessed with her weight and
Then she returned to the gynecologist, looking for more contraceptive pills and confessed what she had done when the doctor asked her what had become of her pregnancy.
She was interrogated by the police on July 14. During the interrogation, she said that she had given birth to a stillborn child and then panicked, so she buried her in the garden.
She was released without charge.
Brooke Skylar Richardson was shown during her second police interview last July, where she told the police that she had set fire to her baby
Prosecutors showed the jury this photo of the skeletal remains of the child after they had been dug up from the garden of the family
Six days later, on July 20, she was taken back to the police station. There, detectives told her that they knew & # 39; that she had tried to set fire to the baby or the area around the baby.
They based their comments on a claim from a forensic pathologist who was asked to consult the case. That pathologist told them that because the bones they had dug up in the garden of Skylar looked slightly darker, they believed they were charred.
The pathologist later changed his mind and another has since admitted that there is no physical evidence on the baby's body to show that it was burned in any way.
But in her second police interview, after denying that she had burned the baby multiple times, Skylar told the detectives on their way that she had tried to & # 39; cremate & # 39; with a lighter.
She also said she & # 39; maybe & # 39; too hard and that although she thought the baby was born dead, she might have accidentally killed her.
Skylar's father Scott took the position on Tuesday and told the court that it was the greatest regret of his life that his daughter had no lawyer present for the second interview.
On Tuesday, the defense also presented a witness who explained the psychology of forced confessions and why an innocent person would lie and confess to something that they would not have done if they thought it would be better for them to continue denying it.
Defense lawyers also showed photos of Skylar in the year before she became pregnant to illustrate how often and drastically her weight fluctuated.
They said it was quite possible that neither she nor her family knew she was pregnant.
The defense rested on Wednesday and the final arguments will take place on Thursday.
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