Cheerleader accused of killing, burning and burying newborn baby in garden pleads not guilty…

A teenage cheerleader has pleaded not guilty to killing, burning and burying her newborn baby in her garden.

Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, was charged with aggravated murder after the remains of her baby were discovered by police outside her home in Carlisle, in the US state of Ohio.

Prosecutor David Fornshell accused Ms Richardson of having “purposely caused the death of the child”.

The infant is believed to have been born sometime between 6 May and 7 May, and was alive probably for only a few hours, according to authorities. They have been trying to determine the infant’s sex and the father’s identity.

Authorities were alerted to the child’s remains after a tip off from a doctor who said she may have given birth to a still born. Investigators later said the baby was alive at the time of birth.

“To be frank with you, I’m not sure we ever will provide to you the exact medical cause of death, and the reason for that is because the child was, after death, burned and subsequently buried, and there was significant decomposition to the body,” Mr Fornshell said.

Ms Richardson was in court on Monday to face additional charges including involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.

She has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Prosecutors suggested that Ms Richardson did not want the wider community to know she was pregnant as a motive for the alleged killing.

Mr Fornshell told Monday’s court hearing: “Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearance and how things appear to the outside world, and if members of the community were to find out that the Richardson girl was pregnant, and perhaps gave birth, and even if, after giving birth, gave that child up for adoption, that was something that was simply not going to be accepted in that household, at least by Skylar and her mother.”

Her defence layer insisted she was a “good person” and said she hoped to begin a course at the University of Cincinnati this autumn.

She has been granted bail with a $50,000 bond but remains under house arrest with electronic monitoring


UPDATE, 9/27/17: The trial, originally scheduled to begin in November, has been continued until April.

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