A former Ohio cheerleader accused of killing her newborn daughter has been released early so she can attend law school.
Brooke Sklyar Richardson was 18 years old and a high school senior when she gave birth to a baby girl, then buried her in her parents backyard in May 2017.
“I am sorry for everything I have put everyone through,” Richardson said in a statement. “I just want to show that I can be a normal person again, that’s all.”
In 2011, Tanya McDowell, a homeless Bridgeport mom, was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny for enrolling her then 5-year-old son Andrew in a neighboring school. McDowell at the time said she and her son lived in her van.
Even the DA stated that it’s uncommon for parents to be arrested for sending their kids to a school outside their district.
McDowell eventually took a plea deal and was sentenced to five years in prison for for sending her son to a better school and a 12-year suspended sentence for selling drugs to feed him.
“Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?” McDowell said in a statement.
The Dayton Daily News reports a jury of seven women and five men aquited the 18-year-old Ohio cheerleader on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, but found here guilty of the offense of abuse of a corpse (for burying the baby in her backyard). She received no jail time but was sentenced to serve three years probation under community control.
The judge who granted her the early release cited the following reasons granting the release:
The 33-year-old ‘homeless’ Connecticut mother who plead guilty to the larceny charges received a suspended 12-year sentence that saw her serve five years in prison followed by five years of probation after being convicted on two counts of selling narcotics to an undercover officer in addition to to the larcency charges. Nonetheless, she was released two years early, ordered to serve three years probation early and to pay back $6500 in tuition. Nor was this her first criminal conviction. Prior to that she had served 18 months for first degree robbery and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle in 2001.
And her son’s scholastic performance improved while he lived with his grandmother was granted custody during her incarceration.
Conclusion: the sentencing results were different because the two women faced different criminal charges in different states under different prosecutors and judges. No race card required.
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The charge for murder of an infant was 3 years time served.
The charge for sending a child to a school in another district was 5 years prison time because the Vans address could not be counted (It’s a Van parked on the street Oo, how can it not be counted Oo).
Your logic is that a person with priors must get a harder sentence if they try to send a child to a school without the correct address on the Van they live in. She lives on the street with no dedicated income so she got a gun to protect herself and her child (that was one of the priors) I thought Americans had a right to guns Oo (I keep hearing that)
Maybe only those with money have those rights Oo
Your argument for her persecution of being homeless to survive is not convincing to me. I see clear injustice in the court system for those on the fringe of survival with no support system.
What can I say? The trial evidence (found in the links given) simply does not support your assertions that the first defendant received an early release from jail (primarily because she was acquitted of the murder/manslaughter charges and never went to jail) or that the second defendant went to jail solely for her felony larceny conviction.
And she wasn’t “persecuted” for being homeless — she was held legally accountable for defrauding the taxpayers of the school district in which she enrolled her son. Theft is theft, and you remain personally responsible for your own actions regardless of your underlying motives or station in life.
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You Stated — ” The trial evidence (found in the links given) simply does not support your assertions that the first defendant received an early release from jail”
My Response — Of course it didn’t because everything in the post is stating that she didn’t go to jail for murder at all.
One person did not go to jail (for murder) and the other did (for sending her child to school).
Living in a Van seems to be punishable by imprisonment while killing babies seems to be ok for law school Oo
What can I say?
Well, this is how the legal system works. We operate on the presumption of innocence. In the first case, the defendant claimed the baby was stillborn and the onus was on the prosecution to prove otherwise. If the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict on the murder charges, it’s because the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to warrent the conclusion she had committed murder/manslaughter. In the second case the defendant plead guilty to the larceny charges as part of a plea bargain to obtain a reduced sentence for the drug charges, so there was no need to go to a jury trial because she had effectively indicted herself. And the fact that she lived in a van has zero bearing on the matter because she wasn’t arraigned for living in a van, or for being homeless.
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But isn’t the opposite true? Doesn’t everything have bearing on the matter?
When we talk about corrupt police you like to site the court of public opinion having an effect on the outcome to the police officers (as possibly being unjust) but when we talk about a desperate mother living on the street with no money for a decent legal team, like the family of the girl who buried a baby in the backyard, it’s only about how solid the justice system is.
We don’t live in a vacuum, everything matters. Justice for a struggling mother living in a van without the funds to have proper legal representation in court matters. Wanting to send her child to a school to provide an opportunity for more than homelessness matters.
I’m not convinced by your position that things matter when it comes to people like corrupt police officers but it doesn’t when it comes to people like this struggling mother.
I imagine her prior bank robbery conviction may have factored into it, as may her complete lack of remorse. But as for the rest, you’ll have to walk me through your logic.
You argue that she should receive consideration for the fact that she was a struggling mother living in a van without funds. Yet tens of thousands of people in similar situations have successfully resisted the urge to contemplate committing armed robbery and larceny. So why should this particular individual be granted special consideration for failing to obey the laws followed by many others facing similar difficulties?
You further argue that said lack of funds deprived her of her of the right to receive proper legal representation. Yet you seemingly ignore the fact that she is the author of her own misfortunes. Who forced her to do drugs? Or to live in a van? Or to bear children she could not support? Or to engage in criminal activity?
You Stated — “You argue that she should receive consideration for the fact that she was a struggling mother living in a van without funds.”
My Response — Yes I am. I think that a mother living on the street should get the same support and help that banks get when they are struggling to survive.
I do not believe a mother should be sentenced to 5 years in prison for sending her child to school.
We have a different view on justice. We will have to agree to disagree.
I’m not sure how bank bailouts factor into the equation; but at the risk of being repetitive, the facts simply do not align with your narrative.
First off, the court transcripts report she was living at her aunt’s house on Dover Street in Bridgeport, CT. So she was not “living on the streets” as you claim.
Second, she was not sentenced to jail for “sending her child to school” (she could have easily sent her son to a school located within 10 minutes walking distance from where she actually lived) — she was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming she lived in a school district in a city located 18 miles away.
And yes, we do have different views on what constitutes justice. Because I deem it both immoral and illegal to take things from others against their will or absent their express consent. Your “needs” — no matter how pressing you may deem them to be — do not grant the moral right to make claims upon others. In other words, you possess no moral right to demand I pay for something just because you “need” it. The taxpaying residents of Norwalk have no obligation to provide public education services to the children of non-resident parents. As such they’re both morally and legally entitled to demand full recompense from those who have received services obtained under a false pretense.
You Stated — “she was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming she lived in a school district in a city located 18 miles away”
My Response — Your position that 5 years for a homeless mother because she made a “false claim” but zero time served for killing a baby seems fair is understood just not convincing.
I still find that justice in these cases have been tainted by privilege and access to resources above and beyond those in poverty.
We can agree to disagree.
Your protests notwithstanding, the facts remain unchanged:
a) she wasn’t homeless, but even if she were it has no bearing on the case
b) her parental status has no bearing on the case
c) the Ohio decision has no bearing on the Connecticut case
d) she plead guilty to the first-degree larceny charges
e) per Connecticut law, a person convicted of first-degree larceny faces a class B felon, , punishable by one to 20 years in prison and up to a $15, 000 fine.
f) judges must follow the sentencing guidelines set out within the statutes of their presiding state
g) her previous conviction and subsequent narcotics offenses had a bearing on the sentencing decision.
She plead guilty to defrauding the taxpayers of Norwalk and was sentenced accordingly.
If you’re unhappy with the Connecticut sentencing guidelines, petition the CT legislators to amend the statutes.
Clearly you feel that the homeless mother is not deserving of the same leniency that the courts can provide.
It would seem that you believe leniency for a mother that murders a baby is justified while another mother who sends her child to school is not.
I say we agree to disagree. I’m not sure there is much more to add. You see some people worthy of leniency and others not. You have the right to have that position, I’m just not persuaded by your argument that it’s for good reasons.
Once again, the facts do not support your narrative. Per my opening comment, she received a suspended 12-year sentence requiring her to serve five years in prison followed by five years of probation. But in reality, she only served three years in prison followed by three years on probation and an order to pay $6500 compensation for the tuition.
So in effect, she did receive leniency.
You Stated — “Once again, the facts do not support your narrative.”
My Response — The facts are public you just ignore them in your response by conflating different cases involving the same woman.
The criminal case of Tanya McDowell for sending her child to school was resolved in 2012 when she was sentenced to five years in prison. You have the free right to paint her anyway you want for a lifetime of struggle but this post is only about that charge and that outcome.
It’s easy to single out a homeless mother who can’t defend herself and is forced to survive by any means possible. It’s also easy to make excuses for well to do women with more than enough money to get away with murder.
I hear your argument of conflation and misdirection but I’m still not convinced.
She was homeless at the time.
Shen sent her child to school and was jailed for 5 years.
The other woman murdered a baby and spent 0 time in jail.
Please convince me why this is justice.
How am I ignoring the facts when I posted links to both cases? By her own admission, she says she grew up and lived in Bridgeport but enrolled her son under a babysitter’s address in Norwalk. So her conviction has zero to do with sending her son to school and everything to do with falsifying her address in order to enroll her son in a different school division.
And the only conflation I’m seeing is your attempt to compare two completely different cases involving two completely different matters in two completely different state.
So you got it reversed. The onus is on you to convince me why her theft of Norwalk taxpayer monies is justified.
You Stated — “By her own admission, she says she grew up and lived in Bridgeport but enrolled her son under a babysitter’s address in Norwalk. ”
My Response — She also stated she lived in a Van and hotels. Many homeless people live in other people’s homes, vehicles, and hotels.
If you pick and choose your details you can conclude anything.
I am not convinced by your argument that a woman in her position should have been jailed for 5 years simply for sending a child to school. I find that to be unjust. You find it to be justice served. It’s a slap in the face for a person to murder a baby and get 0 time in jail when compared.
We should agree to disagree.
Could you point to the comment in which I wrote that “a woman in her position should have been jailed for 5 years simply for sending a child to school”? Because I can’t find it.
What I have argued is that the sentencing results were different because the two women faced different criminal charges in two different states under two different prosecutors and judges.
And as I’ve previously mentioned to you over on Jim’s blog, “agree to disagree” only applies to differences of opinion in matters of taste, not matters of fact. And the pertinent facts here are:
– the defendant in the first case was found “not guilty” of murder or manslaughter by a jury of her peers
– the defendant in the second case plead guilty to first degree larceny
– these two cases are not legally comparable to one another in any way.
Moreover, these legal codes exist because the people who deem it morally justified to rule over others have decided to elect “officials” who promise to pass and enforce laws that trample upon the personal liberties of others. In a genuinely “free” society there would be no public education system for Tanya to defraud. So the real issue here is how anyone can argue that it’s morally justified to appropriate the fruits of another man’s labor via threats of violence and extortion.
That is so strange and so sad 😞
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