breaking news

Va. middle schoolers pretend to rape black classmates on Snapchat

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

JUST IN: Owner of 2 Yellow Springs restaurants to open new venture in Fairborn
JUST IN: Owner of 2 Yellow Springs restaurants to open new venture in Fairborn

Another new restaurant is headed to Fairborn. Lawren Williams, the owner of Williams’ Eatery & Gathering Place and The Corner Cone Dairy Bar & Grill in Yellow Springs, has confirmed to Fairborn city officials that he will open a new coffee shop and deli in Fairborn, Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said this morning. The new coffee shop...
Embracing Life On Cancer’s Journey
Embracing Life On Cancer’s Journey

Brenda Frey said her breast cancer journey has been energized by the power of prayer and a positive outlook. It’s also been enhanced by those with whom she has interacted at Upper Valley Medical Center’s Cancer Care Center, where she received chemotherapy and radiation in 2014. While discussing her diagnosis and treatment, the resident...
Seasonal time change: Does it only affect sleep habits?

The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping — reminders of the upcoming seasonal time change. Any change to the environment can influence changes in our eating patterns and food choices. Shorter days can contribute to spending more time inside and less time outside. This change in habit may contribute to being more active during...
Son of man who died after jail stay sues Huber Heights police, county
Son of man who died after jail stay sues Huber Heights police, county

The death of a Huber Heights man while in custody in 2015 has led his family to sue the Montgomery County jail, the county sheriff, Huber Heights police and others alleging that he did not get needed medical attention while in jail. RELATED: County blames healthcare provider for jail inmate’s injuries In 2015, Robert Linkous, 49, died of heart...
Moraine police shooting: What we know now about deadly encounter
Moraine police shooting: What we know now about deadly encounter

A 23-year-old Dayton man was killed Friday by Moraine police after an early morning standoff that began as officers were investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle on Pinnacle Park Drive. Police said they shot Jamarco McShann after he pointed a loaded semi-automatic pistol at two officers and failed to heed their warnings. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal...
More Stories