Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Skylar Richardson (6): Ohio: (False confession case): "A Cincinnati-area OB-GYN said he believes Brooke Skylar Richardson's newborn daughter was stillborn when Richardson gave birth on a toilet in her family’s Carlisle home in 2017," WCPO reports. (Reporters Abby Anstead and Evan Millward)..."Dr. John E. White said the way Richardson described her newborn to authorities — white, not breathing or moving and with no heartbeat — is consistent with a stillbirth."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: "Scott Richardson told the jury about his daughter’s childhood, including the sports she played and her struggle with eating disorders. “She would never hurt another living being, let alone a baby,” Scott Richardson said. Judge Donald Oda told the jury that Scott Richardson’s testimony wasn’t meant to garner sympathy, but to help them understand her background. Asked what the biggest regret in his life is, Scott Richardson said, “Not having an attorney for the second interrogation.” Prosecutors on Monday played Richardson’s second interview with authorities, in which Richardson said she tried to cremate the baby after repeatedly denying she burned the body. Richardson’s defense team says investigators planted ideas of cremation in Richardson’s head. The forensic anthropologist who said the bones had been burned later recanted that opinion. Professor Alan Hirsch, an expert on criminal interrogations and false confessions, testified investigators used a “very aggressive” version of the Reid technique (a method of interrogation in which authorities confront the suspect and attempt to minimize the crime) in Richardson’s July 20 interview.
Hirsch said authorities practiced standard confrontation by telling Richardson they had scientific evidence that the baby was not stillborn. They then used minimization techniques in telling her the purpose of the interrogation was so they could provide a proper burial for the newborn and that they know she didn’t mean to harm the baby, Hirsch said. “But they went beyond that,” Hirsch said. “They made two statements that I found particularly problematic. Lt. Faine said to her, ‘It’s not as if we’re suddenly going to jump up and judge you and say you’re going to jail.’ And Detective Carter said to her, ‘You just tell us everything and then we can move on.’” Hirsch said both statements were an “extreme and particularly troubling minimization tactic,” which led Richardson to believe she would receive no punishment if she confessed. “This can break down an innocent person and lead them to confess,” Hirsch said. Assistant Prosecutor Steven Knippen said minimization techniques can put a suspect at ease to confess information because it takes the focus out of the consequences.

STORY: "Cincinnati-area OB-GYN says Brooke Skylar Richardson's baby was stillborn," by reporters Abby Anstead and Evan Millward, published by WCPO on September 10, 2019.

SUB-HEADING: "Defense testimony begins in murder trial."

The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;