Lebanon, Ohio — An 18-year-old woman whose newborn’s remains were buried outside her southwest Ohio home pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges on Monday.
Brooke Skylar Richardson entered the pleas at her arraignment in a Warren County court in Lebanon. She was indicted Friday on charges that also include involuntary manslaughter, child endangering, evidence tampering and corpse abuse in the May death.
Prosecutors requested a $1 million bond, but the judge set bond at $50,000, adding house arrest and electronic monitoring as conditions.
Richardson’s attorney, Charles Rittgers, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Monday. He has called the teen a “good person” but hasn’t commented specifically on the allegations.
The baby’s remains were found July 14 in Carlisle, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Cincinnati.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell alleges Richardson gave birth to a full-term baby that was born alive about 38 to 40 weeks into the pregnancy and that Richardson “purposely caused” the death of the baby that was then burned and buried.
Fornshell said Friday that the cause of death hasn’t been determined and may never be known, due to burning and decomposition.
The infant is believed to have been born sometime between May 6 and May 7, 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.
Richardson delivered her baby only days after attending her senior prom, according to Fornshell.
The prosecutor wouldn’t speculate on a specific motive, but has said he thinks evidence supports that Richardson was “pretty obsessed with external appearances and how she appeared to the outside world.”
Investigators believe a “significant number of people in her life” likely had a strong suspicion before the birth that she was pregnant, Fornshell has said.
He also has said that no one else was charged, but that the investigation is continuing.
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