LEBANON, Ohio (WDTN) — Skylar Richardson was found not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering children after the jury read its verdict to end her trial on Thursday.
She was found guilty of abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony and the lowest.
Charles H. Rittgers and his son Charles M. Rittgers were Richardson’s defense team. They took questions from the dozens of media that were covering the trial after the verdict was read:
“I was so (angry) she was charged,” Charles H. Rittgers said. “I was so upset. Especially once we got into the facts of the case.
“As her attorney and knowing other cases around the country, this case was so overcharged. It’s what we’ve battled from the beginning. The case was so juicy, and the way things came down after the indictment, we were really in a hole.”
Richardson faces up to one year in jail and was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read. According to Charles M. Rittgers, this is standard procedure for Judge Donald Oda, who presided the case.
He said he didn’t expect Richardson to serve that much time. He said her time under house arrest would be taken under consideration and she could get the felony expunged from her record in three years.
Rittgers blasted the assistant prosecutor in the court of appeals, who said Richardson told her OBGYN she planned not to have her baby.
“It was pure (BS),” Rittgers said. “That was clickbait. It went international. We had people telling us from England they were reading in magazines that she never intended to have her baby.”
The social media uproar, the confusion over facts in the public and the scrutiny didn’t matter. Richardson was found not guilty of all major charges. Rittgers was satisfied.
“It feels great,” Rittgers said. “It really does. I can’t speak for my son, but I’m emotionally involved in this. I was emotionally involved in this case, and it really feels great.”
Prosecutor Fornshell spoke as well after the verdict was delivered, saying he believes the jury arrived at their decision largely based on the unanswered questions surrounding the baby’s cause of death.
“I understand why the jury likely reached the result that it did. We certainly knew that this was a possibility, but it doesn’t mean that we wanted to see this particular outcome,” he said. “But I do think the jury had a difficult task and I respect the work that they did in this case.”
He goes on to say that Richardson’s choices are the reason the prosecution could not find the evidence they needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did, in fact, murder her child.
Prosecutor Fornshell says he is still convinced that Richardson caused the death of her newborn.
Richardson will be sentenced Friday morning.
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