Ex-Cheerleader Accused of Burying Baby in Backyard Found Not Guilty of Murder

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The jury has found Brooke Skylar Richardson, the ex-cheerleader accused of burying her newborn baby in her parents' backyard two years ago, not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child. 

She was found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse. 

Richardson, then 18, was a popular cheerleader at Carlisle High School in Ohio. But when she learned she was pregnant, prosecutors said, she kept the baby a secret, eventually giving birth to the child alone and burying its remains. 

However, Richardson's lawyers claimed the baby was stillborn and the grieving mother buried her child in a marked grave, a sign of the depth of her feeling for the infant. 

On Thursday, jurors returned a verdict just hours after breaking following closing statements. 

Among the evidence prosecutors pointed to was a text exchange between Richardson and her mother shortly after the child was born, with Richardson writing in part, "I’m literally speechless with how happy I am. My belly is back omg I am never ever ever letting it get like this again."

She even went to the gym, posting pictures of how good she looked on social media.

“I’m literally so excited for dinner to wear something cute yayy my belly is back now I am takin this opportunity to make it amazing," she texted her mom. 

A variety of witnesses took the stand over the course of the trial, including the baby's father, who said he never knew about the child. The man, who asked that his face not be shown, said they had sex just twice before Richardson dumped him, breaking off all contact. 

Richardson's doctor also testified, saying she didn't even realize she was pregnant until she was about six months along. The doctor, who also did not want to be seen, said Richardson seemed surprised when he told her she was pregnant. 

Richardson's father took the stand earlier this week in defense of his daughter. 

“She would never hurt another living being – let alone a baby,” Scott Richardson said, holding back tears.

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