A former American cheerleader who was acquitted of murdering her baby after graduating high school has successfully won her application to seal the records of her conviction.
Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of first-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after a high-profile murder trial in 2019.
However, the jury found her guilty of gross abuse of a corpse.
Prosecutors alleged Richardson, who was 18 when she gave birth to a baby girl named Annabelle in May 2017, killed her baby by crushing the little girl’s skull and then set her on fire because she wasn’t a single mother wanted to be.
Richardson always maintained her innocence.
A US court finally ruled that Annabelle was stillborn when Richardson secretly gave birth to her in the bathroom of her childhood home and buried her in her backyard.
Now, Richardson – who has served just 14 months of her three-year probation – has recently been awarded a contract to stop public records of the sensational court case.
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The verdict means everything, including the conviction, no longer exists in the criminal justice system, FOX19 NOW reported.
There are some exceptions, with law enforcement still able to see the case should Richardson ever be charged again with a crime.
But as one lawyer explained, “It doesn’t make much difference, you can’t delete things from the internet”.
Details of the case shocked the world after the efforts Richardson made to hide her pregnancy were revealed in court.
Richardson has always had irregular periods and said she was horrified to learn she was pregnant when she went to Dr. William Andrew left.
On May 5, 2017, Richardson attended her school festival with her boyfriend Brandon — who wasn’t Annabelle’s father — and left the celebrations because she felt unwell.
The next day, the spasms intensified and Richardson felt “something had to come out” as she went to the bathroom.
A little girl, dead white and without an attached umbilical cord, emerged without a heartbeat, Richardson said, leading to her decision to bury the child and tell no one.
When she tried to get birth control a few months after her daughter’s funeral, the doctor questioned her about the pregnancy.
Although Richardson thought she wouldn’t face any problems because the baby was stillborn, the GP alerted authorities.
Two days later, Richardson was questioned by police without her parents or a lawyer being present.
Police found the baby’s remains about two months after birth.
The now 23-year-old said she was “riddled with guilt” over her decision to keep her pregnancy a secret and wished she could have died in Annabelle’s place.
“I spent a lot of time depressed,” Richardson said Cosmopolitan after the case is closed.
“Every night I would lie down and wish I could have died instead of Annabelle.
“I wish I would have done it differently. I feel guilty every day because I didn’t tell anyone.”
The judge berated her “grotesque disregard for life” in sentencing, but her attorneys always declared she was “an 18-year-old high school girl who felt fear and sadness because she gave birth to a stillborn baby.”
Richardson Customs Cosmopolitan she was a grieving mother, not a monster, who visited her daughter’s memorial “every week.”
“It was so hard living with the truth but making the whole world think differently,” she said.
“The people out there who hate me so much and wish me horrible things don’t know me either.”
Although the case was closed more than three years ago and Richardson was found not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment, the story is as widely debated as ever.
Several documentaries have aired about the bombing, including Killer Cases: Cheerleaders in courtexcerpts of which have recently been circulating on TikTok.
A clip from a series of 48 hours depicts her court appearance when she was early released from parole, saying she “suffers in silence” and has “remorse.”
Richardson now works for her attorneys, father-son team Charlie H. and Charlie M. Rittgers, and local reports say she intends to go to law school.
Originally published as New Twist in Brooke Skylar Richardson’s Secret Baby Case