breaking news

Wright State settled for nearly $2 million with feds over student aid issues

Prosecutor on why he didn’t seek death penalty in buried baby case


Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell admits the case of a Carlisle teen charged with aggravated murder and other felonies for allegedly killing her newborn baby and burning the child’s body has challenges due to the condition of the baby’s remains.

Fornshell made the comments in an interview with this news outlet before a Warren County judge issued a gag order Thursday precluding all parties involved in the case from making statements.

Brooke Skylar Richardson, who graduated from Carlisle High School in May, is accused of giving birth to a baby just days after her prom, killing it, burning the body and then burying it in the backyard of her home.

MORE: Warren County prosecutor outlines challenges in buried baby case

She is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove told this news outlet early last week: “We may never be able to tell, in a vacuum through science, how the baby died due to the condition of the remains, unfortunately.”

Fornshell said that was one of the factors he considered when making the decision whether or not to seek the death penalty.

“There was evidence presented to the grand jury that she purposely caused the death of the child.… The grand jury found probable cause that she purposely caused the death of the baby, but that is a far cry proving beyond a reasonable doubt to get the death penalty,” Fornshell said.

MORE: What both sides are saying in the Carlisle buried baby case

None of those in the prosecutor’s office who reviewed the case believed successfully getting the death penalty was possible, he said.

“This whole discussion was had in my office, and there wasn’t a single prosecutor or assistant prosecutor that looked at this case and believed that this was one where we would be likely to obtain the death penalty,” Fornshell said.

Richardson was also indicted on a much lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter for the alleged death of the baby. Fornshell said the charges all come down to interpretation of the evidence by a jury.

MORE: Carlisle baby buried in teen’s backyard was a girl, prosecutor says

“So, depending on how you interpret the evidence, you can assign different levels of mental culpability to action or inaction,” Fornshell said. “(You can say) I think this was a purposeful killing, I think this was a somebody who at a minimum was reckless in terms of their care, or lack there of, of a newborn child because they did not want the child.”

MORE: Judge issues gag order in Carlisle buried baby case




Next Up in Local

‘Unauthorized’ Dayton food pantry ordered to stop operations
‘Unauthorized’ Dayton food pantry ordered to stop operations

The city of Dayton has ordered a nonprofit in east Dayton to stop operating what officials say is an unauthorized food pantry that has been the source of some neighborhood complaints. With God’s Grace, located at 622 Springfield St., has caused disruption in the neighborhood because long lines of people were forming outside its doors and visitors...
Revenge porn victim: ‘The cell phone had more rights than me’
Revenge porn victim: ‘The cell phone had more rights than me’

Nine months ago, Katelyn Bowden was shocked and humiliated to find intimate photos of her from her ex-boyfriend’s stolen cell phone landed on dozens of websites. Bowden reported it to the police, only to be told the only crime committed was the cell phone theft. “I was told that in the state of Ohio, the cell phone had more rights than...
WATCH: Drone video of new At Home store opening in Beavercreek this month
WATCH: Drone video of new At Home store opening in Beavercreek this month

At Home, a Texas-based home decor chain retailer, is almost ready to open its first Dayton-area store in Beavercreek. After a relatively quick remodeling of the former Kmart location on Indian Ripple Road which started in August, the store will be having a soft opening on Wednesday, January 31.  Early on Thursday, construction site superintendent...
Tree trimming solicitor arrested on unrelated charge in Bellbrook
Tree trimming solicitor arrested on unrelated charge in Bellbrook

Local residents are credited with helping police arrest a man and question others who were soliciting tree trimming services is the neighborhood off Possum Run Road Wednesday. Jeffrey Springer, 36, of Springfield was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant out of Warren County unrelated to the solicitation incident, according to Bellbrook police...
‘Grapes of Gratitude’ to bring competitive wine tasting to Springfield

The American Association of University Women Springfield Branch is about to pop the cork on a new type of competition. AAUW’s first Grapes of Gratitude Fundraiser is a competitive wine tasting event that will combine wine and fun with competition when it debuts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Ohio Masonic Home clubhouse. Looking for something...
More Stories