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Family Of Cheerleader Acquitted Of Killing Her Baby Will 'Bring Closure' With Proper Burial

TW: Story contains mentions of baby death. Brooke Skylar Richardson was found not guilty last week after standing trial for aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. Richardson was found to have secretly given birth to a baby girl on May 7, 2017, but she alleged that the baby was stillborn and she buried the body in the backyard of her family home without revealing to anyone that she had given birth. Now, more than two years later, the family reveals that they will have a proper burial for the baby Richardson named Annabelle to help bring the family some closure.

In addition to being found not guilty, the judge in the case, Judge Donald Oda II, also ordered that the remains of baby Annabelle, that were discovered two months after Richardson gave birth, would be returned to the family. Defense attorney Charles M. Rittgers told the judge that the family would like to give Annabelle a proper burial, the Journal-News reports.

“They had made plans now for more than two years to have a proper burial, proper memorial service, but we’ve asked them, even without having Annabelle back, asked them to hold off on balloon releases and a lot of things they’ve wanted to do because of the pending case,” Rittgers said, noting the family had already secured a burial plot.

“The Richardson family would like to bring closure for Annabelle and give her an eternal resting place,” Rittgers added.

The judge also ordered that the family of the baby's father, Trey Johnson, have full access to the burial site so they can also visit and pay their respects.

While Richardson was found not guilty on the charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering, she was found guilty on the charge of gross abuse of a corpse and will serve three years probation. The former teenager spoke out for the first time in two years prior to her sentencing in court.

“I would do anything that you ask,” she told the judge. “I can sometimes be selfish, but I’m getting better. I’m forever sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ve hurt a lot of people. I am really, really sorry. And I understand.”

Juror Nancy Grawe spoke to the Journal-News and said prosecutors just "did not prove their case,” which is why they found Richardson not guilty of the more serious charges. “We did not feel the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Grawe said of the jury. “ We were all in agreement about that.”

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