Perfect Girl, Interrupted – Thin-Slicing the Brooke Skylar Richardson Case

TRANSCRIPT

Hello, and welcome to True Crime Rocket Science.

OVERVIEW

Brooke Skylar Richardson.

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Blonde, blue-eyed, 20-years-old, charged in 2017 for the death of her baby daughter Annabelle. Skylar was 17 when she gave birth at midnight, in her bathroom at her parents’ home in Carlisle, on May 7th, just two days after her high school prom.

skylar-richardson-pregnant-killer-cheerleader-pregnany-photos

After giving birth Skylar buried the newborn’s body in the family backyard. On July 17th, shortly after going to a clinic to get birth control pills, the remains were found by detectives.

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DNA matched Skylar as the mother, and Trey Johnson, a former ex-boyfriend, as the father. Johnson would be the first witness during the trial that finally started on September 4th, and eventually concluded on September 9th, 2019. A jury comprising seven men and five women acquitted Skylar on most but not quite all charges.

OPTICS

Brooke-Skylar-Richardson-1

The image of Brooke Skylar Richardson in court, awaiting verdict and sentencing was my introduction to this case. I knew virtually nothing about the case until the judge read the charges, and all there was to go on besides that was the fragile-looking Skylar, initially responding to “not guilty” with no emotions, and then – fingers trembling in front of her face – Skylar appeared to break down in tears.

GUILTY AUDIO

In an episode posted yesterday on Chris Watts’ affect, we saw how tricky it is to base the entirety of our knowledge of a person, on first impressions, and on optics, such as these. Personally, when I watched and listened to the charges being read, and I looked at the young girl’s face, I felt a strong sense of sympathy sweeping over me, and I hoped Skylar would not be convicted. When she wasn’t, I was happy for her.

That’s justice right? It feels right, it must be right? We should measure the legalities with our hearts, not our heads, right?

SENTENCING

On the True Crime Rocket Science Facebook page, right now, there is a particular individual venting, grandstanding, and making as loud a noise as possible in sympathy with Skylar. It’s understandable if our information is limited to just that snapshot of her facing the jury’s verdict in court.

But True Crime Rocket Science requires that we get ourselves up to speed with as much information as we can, starting – in this instance – with Skylar herself. We have to get to know her, and her world, before we can make authentic or meaningful pronouncements.

So, for example, we learn that when Skylar found out she was pregnant, she also broke down in tears. When she got home, she researched online:

How to get rid of a baby. 

FAMILY DYNAMICS

This is a blog post, not a book, and clearly this subject on its own deserves hours of research if we are to do our due diligence. But we can pick up a few meaningful clues through thin-slicing. We see that on April 26th, 2017, Skylar asked her mother to make an appointment for her at Hilltop OBGYN so she could get birth control pills. That was when her doctor told her she was into her third trimester and would deliver a healthy baby within weeks. The doctor assessed the fetus as healthy, with a strong heart rate. This is important.


Through this snippet of information we see Skylar’s mother is – if not in control – then nevertheless a clear and active presence in her daughter’s life. We can also see that her mother knew about her daughter’s visit to the doctor, and one wonders how the doctor didn’t inform her mother of her young 17-year-old daughter’s situation.

A medical assistant who checked Skylar in, also said Skylar acted very nervous. The idea that Skylar didn’t know she was pregnant, far into her third trimester, suggests someone who may not be who we perceive her to be at face value.

The fact that Skylar left the clinic repeating –

I can’t have this baby, I can’t tell anyone I’m pregnant

– also speaks of a powerful dynamic operating in Skylar’s life.

From Fox19:

Fullscreen capture 20190914 155657

SEXUAL DYNAMICS

Trey testified that the two began seeing each other in 2016. They had sex twice, once unprotected. He added that Skylar never told him she was pregnant.

AGE AND SOCIAL SITUATION

Skylar gave birth after high school and prior to starting college.

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THIN-SLICING

1. Judge’s Comments – he disagreed with the jury’s verdictFullscreen capture 20190914 161947

190913071219-01-brooke-skylar-richardson-verdict-0912-exlarge-1692. Is Skylar Guilty of a Crime? From Fox19: Fullscreen capture 20190914 160425Fullscreen capture 20190914 155316

Buried Newborn3. Red FlagsFullscreen capture 20190914 165122Fullscreen capture 20190914 155508.jpg4. False Confession?

Skylar Richardson trial: ‘I tried to cremate the baby,’ she tells her father in police video – Cincinnati.com

5. Before and After – Premeditation, PostmeditationFullscreen capture 20190914 162943Fullscreen capture 20190914 160055.jpgFullscreen capture 20190914 155559.jpgFullscreen capture 20190914 160240Fullscreen capture 20190914 155944.jpg

TCRS ASSESSMENT

1. Skylar didn’t take the stand in her own defense – neither did Casey Anthony.

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2. From the remains, it does appear that the corpse was burned. It was buried in the backyard adjacent to  a barbecue pit. It seems unlikely that the remains would skeletonize entirely between May 7th and July 14th.

3. Annabelle was born prematurely, and the birth induced, but was likely not stillborn.

4. The question of whether another family member may have been an accessory to these events is relevant to this case, given the location of the crime scene.

5. Skylar was fortunate to get off as lightly as she did. The jury may view this as a late abortion, but technically, if she gave birth to a viable fetus and then bludgeoned the infant to death, it qualifies as first-degree murder after deliberation, and also obstruction of justice.

Why?

“Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world,” he said. “You have a situation where, you know, she’s a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her lawyer as you heard after the arraignment.” Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.

Fullscreen capture 20190914 162812

I can sometimes be selfish, but I would like to think that I’ve become better in the knowledge that I’ve upset everyone and hurt so many people with what I’ve done.”

Narcissism vs Sympathy

Prosecutors contended that the high school cheerleader wanted to keep her “perfect life” – Time

Fullscreen capture 20190914 165107

…a Warren County judge told her she showed a “grotesque disregard for life”…

“‘Broken,’ ‘shattered,’ ‘destroyed,'” she said. “None of them seem to fit the amount of pain I have felt ever since we found out that not only did I lose my first grandchild, but my baby — who I would lay down my life for without a thought — lost his first child, and Skylar had no intention of letting us know.”


 

15 thoughts on “Perfect Girl, Interrupted – Thin-Slicing the Brooke Skylar Richardson Case

  1. There’s something going on in Skylar’s home with that mother of hers. Similar to Casey and Cindy Anthony. How is that everyone around Casey could tell she was pregnant but Cindy couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And if Skylar is weighing in now two years after her baby’s death at – was it 89 pounds, then it sounds like whatever toxic environment she came from she’s still in.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This case has hardly been reported on in the UK so I’ll be doing some catching up here to familiarize myself.
    Which’ll be interesting in itself because I won’t have any preconceptions from having read press coverage. . Hopefully there might be a book coming ?

    Like

    • If this was a slow time between books, there may have been a book. But the 9 book series on Watts took quite a toll. I’m on a two-month break now, maybe longer, so unless hell freezes over, I won’t be bringing out any new narratives soon. I will be doing some light analysis on YouTube and see if that gains traction and hopefully props up sales. There’s no reason not to aggregate information on certain cases, like this one, in the meantime, but to be honest I have about a dozen books on a list that are half written that really need to be finished and published, and that’s really going to be my focus until about this time next year. One thing I might do more in future is Kindlets, which is a very short book, about the length of a very long form article, published almost the day the story breaks, as I did with Connor Betts. What I would appreciate is if any of y’all – Sylvester are you listening – can source the court documents/discovery – of this particular case. I’d be interested in looking at that and analyzing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Actually I love the Kindlets – if Connor Betts was your first, I’d like to see more. Are you wanting court docs and discovery in the Skylar Richardson case? I listened to parts 1-4 of testimony inside the courtroom last night via youtube and I still don’t know something, but I’ll see if it’s brought up above. The question is did she get a prescription for birth control pills for the month prior to giving birth? Her mother said an alert was sent to her phone that they were ready for pickup at the pharmacy even though the first doctor she saw confirmed her pregnancy with a urine test. How did they then okay the prescription? In his court testimony he said (some parts were blocked out though) that taking birth control pills on top of being pregnant may not necessarily cause damage to the baby but there would be no need to take them (because she was well beyond needing them). So why was the script sent? And did she take the pills knowing full well she was pregnant (32 weeks according to the first doctor – the doctor who delivered her, her mother’s OB/GYN).

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  4. No evidence she had used the fire pit to burn the body, however in Part 3 of the court testimony Skylar disclosed to the lieutenant that she may have attempted to burn the corpse at the burial site. I’m sure her thinking was if she could reduce the corpse to ashes it would be less likely to be discovered. The burial pit would have drawn attention had she used that, in the middle of the night. She certainly was busy that night. She gave birth, cleaned it up, disposed of the bloody towels somewhere not near the home (she tells her father) took the baby outside, got garden tools from the garage, dug a very superficial shallow grave, attempted to burn the body, went back inside the house and to bed. Did all this after the extreme pain of giving childbirth and no one hears or notices anything, no sounds whatsoever. I find this a little hard to believe. The mother remains silent as the father is interrogating Skylar – she also wasn’t in court during crucial police testimony.

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  5. Here are a few things, but not much so far. Brooke Skylar Richardson’s partial transcript 9/5/2019:

    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/09/05/skylar-richardson-partial-transcript-interrogation/2225171001/

    Ringland Ruling on doctor’s testimony: (doctor-patient confidentiality could be waived) State v. Richardson CA2018-04-043 and CA2018-04-044 2018-Ohio-4254

    I think you will need a scribd membership to get all of it so it might not be of much use – although there is a free 30 day trial.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All I’ve watched so far is Day 1 parts 1-4. I heard Dr. Andrew on the stand and Dr. Boyce – also the detective that spotted a bone and used a brush to uncover the skeletal remains. That is, they started the process until the Lieutenant asked them to stop until the Coroner arrived.

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  7. Let me know if all of these trigger the next day – I see 5 but there might be more – If not I’ll be back later today – actually this one is important Day 3 Part 1 Forensic Pathologist

    Like

  8. “3. Annabelle was born prematurely, and the birth induced”

    How do we know it was “induced”?

    Honestly, this Skylar sounds like a severely abused child caught in an impossible situation.

    Like

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