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Skylar Richardson

Skylar Richardson Released Early from Probation One Year After Being Cleared of Baby Daughter’s Murder

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Nov. 17 2020, Updated 4:09 p.m. ET

A nightmare ride for a former cheerleader is finally coming to an end. Popular 18-year-old Skylar Richardson is free of courts and probation after 3 years, after a judge this week released her from probation 2 years early. The judge said he saw no reason to continue overseeing the now-21-year-old, who was cleared in the death of her newborn daughter but was convicted of abusing her corpse. Why did Richardson serve so little time, and what happened in 2017?

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Skylar Richardson Gives Birth, Alone

Skylar Richardson Ohio

In 2017, Richardson was your average, active teenager. 18 years old and a popular cheerleader, Richardson nonetheless had struggles. The 18-year-old struggled with anorexia, which she partially blamed later on pressure from her mother. Richardson felt as though she couldn’t confide in her parents, so it’s unsurprising that when she found out she was pregnant in April of 2017, she kept it to herself.

On May 7th, less than 2 days after her senior prom, Richardson went into labor in their family home. Scared of the consequences, Richardson quietly birthed her baby girl, alone. It would be what happened next that set Richardson on a whirlwind of arrest, court appearances, a conviction, and probation.

In July of the same year, Richardson visited her OBGyn. The 18-year-old admitted to giving birth, and claims she buried her daughter’s body in the backyard. A mandated reporter, her doctor immediately contacted authorities. At that point, Richardson was interrogated by investigators without a lawyer present, in violation of her rights.

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Murder or Tragedy?

Skylar Richardson Court

Per CBS News, “She was charged with a number of counts, including aggravated murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

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In July 2019, the prosecutors approached Richardson’s lawyers, Charles H. Rittgers and his son, Charles M. Rittgers, with an offer of a plea deal that would have dropped the aggravated murder charge but would have still sent Richardson to prison.

‘The prosecutor told Charlie, I will take aggravated murder off if you plea to the rest of them, which still could have been 15 years,’ Skylar’s father, Scott Richardson tells 48 Hours correspondent Erin Moriarty…”

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But Richardson refused to admit to something she says she didn’t do. According to Richardson, her daughter was stillborn. Richardson refused the deal and pressed ahead with protestations of innocence, although she did admit freely to having buried the body improperly. The jury had to decide; was this the tragedy of a scared, mentally unwell teenager faced with an unexpected death of her newborn and no good options? Or was this the machinations of a cold killer, who murdered a live baby and tried to hide the body.

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Cleared of the Most Serious Charges, But Still Convicted

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In 2019, Richardson’s steadfast refusal to accept the plea deal paid off. She was cleared of the most serious charges, but convicted of abusing her daughter’s corpse.

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Per DailyMail, “She was sentenced to three years of basic supervision. Now 21, she has spent the last year working in the offices of her trial lawyers.

A judge on Tuesday terminated the remainder of her sentence, saying: ‘There is no reason for me to invest the time and resources of my probation department in supervising you.’

She told the court how sorry she was first.

‘I’m working to get that better, I know it has been a short amount of time and I understand that it doesn’t seem like a lot at all, but in that year and two months I have been, you can say, I show remorse and I feel a lot of things, but it’s hard to show.

‘I suffer a lot in silence and I do show remorse and I am very sorry,’ she said.”

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The Baby’s Paternal Grandmother Wants Skylar to Pay

Skylar Richardson Released

Although the baby’s biological father was not present in court for Richardson’s probation hearing this week, his mother was. The baby’s grandmother feels as though Richardson has not paid enough for what she considers her egregious actions. The baby’s father, Trey, felt that the judge would be too lenient, so he did not bother to attend the hearing.

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DailyMail reports what the baby’s paternal grandmother said in her address to Richardson, “‘I don’t hate you. You probably think I do but I don’t. When I first told Trey about the hearing, the first thing he said to me was very telling. ‘Is it the same judge? If it is, what’s the point in fighting? He’s just going to let her off.’

‘He doesn’t believe she’s had to pay at all. When she was on house arrest before the trial it was a joke. She got to leave her house throughout the day.

‘You had the option of giving her up to six months in prison and you gave her time served. I don’t think three years of probation is too much to ask.

‘I’d really like to know for what reason she feels she shouldn’t have to fulfill her punishment,’ [Trey’s mother] Tracy said.”

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Judge Saw No Need to Continue Probation

//skylar richardson early release from probation tuesday quote

Per WDTN, “According to WLWT, Judge Donald Oda ruled that due to Richardson’s charge being a low-level felony, her having no prior criminal history and being employed and going to school, there is no reason to invest time and resources of the probation department in supervising her.

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‘Probation is not punishment, probation is not rehabilitation, probation is the opportunity to demonstrate why it is that the state imprisoned term of 12 months in prison should not be imposed and if you can follow the rules, I don’t impose that sentence,’ Oda said. ‘There is nothing in the three years that I have been supervising you that has happened that leads me to believe that you won’t follow those rules or that you’re going to commit any crimes in the future, so I am going to terminate your probation effective today.’”

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Although some will always see her as a murderer, who cold-bloodedly mutilated and buried the corpse of her newborn, others see her as the victim of untreated mental illness and a former scared teenager. Richardson, for her part, just wants to move on and pursue her educational goals.

Per WDTN, “‘I just want to show that I can be a normal person again,’ Richardson said. ‘I just want to make everything right again as much as I can.’”

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