THE cheerleader who buried her unwanted baby in her garden was slammed by a judge as she walked free from court on Friday.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, from Ohio, US, had been accused of smashing her newborn's skull with a rock days after her prom when she was aged 18.
But on Thursday, she was cleared of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment – only being found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse.
During sentencing, Judge Donald Oda slammed Richardson for poor choices which may have resulted in the stillbirth of the baby, who she named Annabelle.
“I believe if you had made different decisions, Annabelle would still be here,” the judge said.
“I think that your choices before birth, during birth and after birth show a grotesque disregard for life.”
Judge Donald Oda sentenced Richardson, now 20, to seven days in jail for the corpse abuse charge, but she was credited for time already served.
She will instead serve three years of probation – but if she violates this, she can be locked up for up to a year in jail.
Richardson was just a teen when she secretly gave birth in her bathroom and buried the newborn in her backyard on 7 May, 2017.
It was just a few days after her senior prom and weeks before she was set to start college.
Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
During the hearing, Richardson made a grovelling apology to the baby’s dad.
She said: “I am sorry. I can sometimes be selfish, but I’m getting better. I’m forever sorry.
“I’ve hurt a lot of people. I am really, really sorry. And I understand,” she added.
Richardson’s father, Scott Richardson, also addressed the court and asked for his daughter to be released.
“My daughter is suffering from an eating disorder and we are concerned about her health,” he said.
The mother of Richardson’s former boyfriend Trey Johnson — the baby’s dad — read an emotional statement in court.
“Not only did I lose my first grandchild, but my baby boy lost his daughter,” the mum said.
“For a baby that she called ‘it,’ we’re just as much the family as she is.
“I’ve watched my son become a different person,” she continued.
“I won’t disclose his medical diagnosis because she’s done enough to him. I can personally tell you that I’ve personally been seen for depression, panic attacks, and I’m a shell of the person I was.”
Trey’s mother added: “I would have taken her in with Trey without a question. Now, instead, every May 7, I don’t get to have a birthday party for my first grandchild.
“Instead, I send her balloons to heaven, to tell her how much her daddy loved her, and how much I loved her.”
The court previously heard that in 2017 she told a doctor that she gave birth to a stillborn baby, who she named Annabelle and then buried in the garden of her parents’ home.
The medic reported the incident to police who soon located the child’s remains around two months after she gave birth.
Richardson was later charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering and pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors claimed the cheerleader wanted to keep her "perfect life" that included plans to begin classes at the University of Cincinnati.
They claimed she smashed the baby’s head with a rock before burying him – claims Richardson strongly denies.
Prosecutors said Richardson had also searched on the internet for "how to get rid of a baby".
Her defence said the baby she named Annabelle was stillborn and that the teen was sad and scared.
Her legal team claimed Richardson kept quiet because she didn’t realise she was due so soon and her response was normal for a scared teenager.
They accused prosecutors of creating “a false narrative” to sensationalise the case.
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“What started as an 18-year-old high school girl who was frightened and saddened because of giving birth to a stillborn baby whom she named Annabelle and then telling her doctor of the stillborn and burial in the backyard turned into something sinister and grotesque,” one of her representatives told the court.
Cincinnati psychologist Stuart Bassman said "Skylar was being manipulated" into making false statements during interrogations.
He described Richardson as a vulnerable, immature person whose dependent personality disorder makes her want to please authority figures, even to the point of making incriminating statements that were untrue.
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