High school cheerleader cleared of murdering her baby to maintain ‘perfect life’

A woman who gave birth as a teenager and buried her newborn child in a garden has been acquitted of murder.

Brooke Skylar Richardson was found not guilty on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment by a jury on Thursday.

She was convicted of abuse of a corpse.

The 20-year-old has always maintained that the child was stillborn. She broke down in court as the not guilty verdicts were read.

The former cheerleader gave birth at home, alone, 33 weeks into her pregnancy.

She was later accused of deliberately killing her child to maintain her “perfect” life within a prominent family from Carlisle, Ohio.

“She was determined to maintain that perfect life at all costs,” argued Julie Kraft, the assistant prosecutor.

“Brooke chose her own perfect life over the life of her daughter.”

The schoolgirl had hidden her pregnancy from her parents and buried her child’s body in her family’s garden in Carlisle, Ohio,

The case came to light when the teenager confided in her doctors about the birth and one tipped off police officers, according to The Daily Beast.

It has divided Carlisle, a town with a population of 5,000 people, where some have supported the teenager and others have accused her of murdering the infant.

During the eight-day trial Richardson’s lawyers said their client suffered from an eating disorder and argued that this had affected the child’s development.

The 20-year-old will be sentenced on Friday for the abuse of a corpse conviction.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.


Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Additional reporting by agencies