CARLISLE, Ohio (FOX19) - Skylar Richardson, the former teen accused of killing her baby, gave her first interview since a jury found her ‘not guilty’ in September.
Richardson, now 20, spoke with Cosmopolitan Magazine in an interview published Monday.
READ MORE | Skylar Richardson Trial
On Sept. 12, a Warren County jury found Richardson not guilty of aggravated murder, not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not guilty of child endangerment, but guilty of abuse of a corpse.
The former Carlisle High School cheerleader was accused of killing her newborn in May 2017 and burying the remains in her family’s backyard.
It took the jury, that was made up of seven women and five men, about four hours to deliberate.
Judge Donald Oda sentenced Richardson to three years probation with a seven-day jail sentence commuted for time served.
Richardson said she named the baby she conceived with Trey Johnson ‘Annabelle.’
“What often gets overlooked is how precious life is. Your life... Annabelle’s life. I firmly believe that if you would have made different decisions Annabelle would be here today. Your actions showed a grotesque disregard for life,” Judge Donald Oda said.
In a narrative tailored to a young woman’s magazine, Sonia Chopra interviewed Richardson to frame her point of view of the events that led to her trial and the events that followed.
“My biggest regret is not having the strength to tell someone that I was pregnant,” Richardson told Chopra in an exclusive interview for Cosmo. “I wish I would have done it differently. I’m plagued by guilt every day for not telling someone.”
Chopra also interviewed a girl claiming to be a friend of Richardson’s since middle school named Ashley.
“These things just happen — babies are stillborn— women shouldn’t be blamed for that,” Chopra quoted Ashley saying. “It’s sickening what they have done to her. I just try to keep it as normal as possible and be there for her as a friend.”
She also said another friend told her Richardson ‘misses her baby.’
In the article, Chopra noted the things Richardson missed such as ‘epic parties’ and how Richardson would talk with her friends who were away at college via FaceTime.
“I spent a lot of my time depressed,” Richardson told Chopra. “Every night, I would lie down and wish that I could have died in place of Annabelle.”
Chopra said Richardson deactivated her social media accounts and avoided reading about the case. She said Richardson read mystery novels, learned to cook and knit, and did chores.
“It was so hard to live knowing the truth but to have the whole world think otherwise,” Richardson said in the interview for Cosmo. “The people out there who hate me so much and wish horrible things upon me also do not know me.”
While discussing the trial from her perspective, Richardson told Chopra it was ‘hard’ to hear the ‘horrible’ things the prosecutors said about her.
“Inside, I felt like I was dying,” Richardson told Chopra. “Very few things have been harder than having to listen to prosecutors allege horrible, unthinkable things of me and put countless photos of my daughter’s bones on a big screen.”
Richardson told the young woman’s magazine her demeanor in the court was due to dissociation.
“I felt very disassociated, which is how I often cope,” she said during the interview. “I did as I was told, wore what I was told, stood up straight, and held my head high.”
Chopra said Richardson told her she ‘couldn’t live’ with herself if she pleaded guilty to something she ‘didn’t do.’
She said Richardson’s mother Kim texted her to say she was ‘proud’ of Richardson’s ‘strength’ for turning down the 15-year plea deal offered by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.
Richardson told the magazine she knew in her ‘heart of hearts’ she was innocent. She says she lives with ‘a lot of fear’ and that the last two years have been a ‘nightmare’ that she’s having a ‘hard time letting go of.’
Chopra claims there have been death threats against Richardson, but no officials have confirmed that information.
In the interview for Cosmo, Richardson also claimed she was denied more than 40 jobs ‘only’ because of the murder charges she faced.
She confirmed to the magazine she still works for her attorneys who represented her during her trial, Charlie H. and Charlie M Rittgers. Chopra says she waters their plants, takes out the trash, and does other general office tasks.
Richardson says having a job has given her a ‘purpose.’
She also told Chopra she sought treatment for an eating disorder and says she was diagnosed with 'PTSD’ and ‘severe depression.’
Chopra says the Richardson family made a private memorial for the baby in a plot ‘far from town.' Richardson says it gives her ‘relief’ that her baby is in her ‘final resting spot’ and says she visits her every week.
During her sentencing in September, Judge Oda ordered the baby’s remains be released to the Richardson family within seven days and said the family must give access to the Johnson family. Tracy Johnson, the mother of Trey Johnson and the grandmother of the baby, asked the court for custody of the remains.
Judge Oda made the accessibility of the remains to both families a condition of Richardson’s bail that if she violated, she could face time in prison.
Richardson can expect to have her criminal record expunged three years after her probation ends.