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Teen charged with aggravated murder of infant daughter

By Lauren Pack • Sep 11, 2018 at 10:00 PM

MIDDLETOWN — UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m.: Both sides in the case of a Carlisle teen accused of killing her newborn baby argued to appeals judges this morning about specific elements of law pertaining to the teen's medical records and statements to her doctors.

On July 12, Brooke Skylar Richardson's doctor alerted police that the teen had a child and allegedly buried it in her backyard.

The statements by the teen triggering that phone call to police should be considered doctor-patient confidentiality because no laws under child abuse or neglect apply, argued defense attorney Neal Schuett to judges in the 12th District Court of Appeals.

Doctors were asking questions of Richardson because they were curious, not because they were concerned about abuse, her defense attorney argued.

Those questions, he said, caused Richardson to break down and say, "It was in the middle of the night, it was stillborn, I buried it in the back," Schuett told the 12th District Court of Appeals judges.

But, the prosecution argued, doctors had reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect because Richardson said "she had no intention of having the baby" and her reaction to being pregnant was "over the top," argued prosecutor Kirsten Brandt.

"If you have any indication that you are going to hurt his baby, you need to tell us right away," Brandt said the doctor told Richardson.

Richardson did nothing to prepare for the baby, then told doctors she had the baby in secret, did not wake her parents for help, buried the baby in the backyard and "cleaned up the mess," Brandt said.

This waives doctor-patient privilege because reporting is required to police, argued prosecutors.

"It is not normal for someone to bury a baby in the backyard ... why wouldn't there be suspicion of abuse?" Judge Robert Hendrickson asked the defense attorney.

Schuett said there was no evidence of harm, just that there had been a stillborn birth.

Richardson also discussed the details of her doctor appointments with multiple people, including a reporter, Brandt argued to judges.

"Once you have told the world, it is not privileged," she said.

The judges are not expected to issue their decision for several more weeks.


Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case of a Carlisle teen accused of killing her newborn baby will be in court today arguing specific elements of law pertaining to medical records.

In April, just days before trial, the defense and the prosecution appealed a split decision by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II concerning the use of medical records at Brooke Skylar Richardson's trial.

Both the prosecution and defense appealed the decision to the 12th District Court of Appeals. That put the trial on hold until appeals judges rule on the specific issue.

Attorneys have filed briefs that outline their arguments, but the contents of those briefs are sealed.

Richardson, who was 18 last July when the remains of her baby girl were found buried in her family's backyard, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering.

Today, the defense and prosecution will each get 20 minutes to present their arguments concerning the use of medical records at Richardson's trial. Richardson is not expected to attend today's arguments.

The defense team appealed Oda's ruling that physician-patient privilege did not apply to conversations between Richardson and a doctor at Hilltop OB-GYN, who after an appointment in July 12 alerted Carlisle police that the teen had a child and allegedly buried it in her back yard.

The prosecution also appealed when Oda ruled that a portion of information between a second physician and Richardson was privileged unless a defense expert is called to testify based on information from that physician.

The Richardson defense team had filed a motion to not have today's oral arguments open to the public, but appeals judges denied that request last month.


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