Local News

Jury gets closer look at evidence in case of tortured child

Posted February 27, 2014

Jonathan Douglas Richardson waits in a Johnston County courtroom on Feb. 25, 2014, during his first-degree murder trial for the July 2010 death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter, Teghan Skiba.

— Jurors watched intently – some leaning forward in their seats – Thursday as they saw crime scene video of the 15-foot-by 13-foot shed where Johnston County prosecutors say a Smithfield man physically and sexually abused his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter before the child died.

Testifying for a second day in Jonathan Douglas Richardson's capital murder trial, Charlotte Fournier, a former crime scene investigator for the Johnston County Sheriff's Department, said she initially seized 196 items from the cluttered and dirty shed where Teghan Skiba spent 10 of her last 13 days alive.

More evidence was later collected in the case.

The state on Thursday morning also started the process of showing the jury of seven women and five men that evidence – everything from men's boxers to baby clothing to the pink Gap T-shirt and black pants Teghan was wearing when Richardson took her to Johnston Memorial Hospital on July 16, 2010.

Teghan died three days later.

An autopsy found the child died from blunt force head injuries and that her less-than-40-pound body had signs of sexual assault as well as dozens of bite marks, bruises and cuts.

Although prosecutors say Richardson – charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse, sexual offense with a child and kidnapping – tormented, terrorized and tortured the young girl, defense attorneys trying to keep their client from facing the death penalty contend otherwise.

Richardson, 25, never sexually abused Teghan and didn't mean to kill her, they say. He lacked experience and parenting skills, and they blame her death on his undiagnosed mental problems, his own experiences of being abused as a child and approval from Teghan's mother, Helen Reyes, that physically abusing the child was OK.

Jurors saw 60 pieces of physical evidence on Thursday, and Fournier is expected to return to the stand Monday.


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  • Maureen Mercer Mar 7, 2014
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    Richardson's parents should be charged with neglect and anything else that jails them for allowing their son to live in the shed with the girl and turning a blind eye to what was happening. The girl's mother should be charged for giving this girl to him rather than the paternal grandparents. She should get kicked out of the military for not providing a safe environment for her child while attending military training. Where were the maternal grandparents?

  • miseem Feb 27, 2014

    As many have mentioned, this doesn't speak highly of Richardson's parents or the mother. I recall earlier reports stating that they lived in a barn, and I've seen some barns that had decent living facilities with a section with bath, kitchen, heat & a/c. This was just a shed. How could anyone allow a child to stay in a shed with no utilities or water, much less a bathroom. His excuse that it all started because she p__ed in the bed rings a little hollow when there was no where else to go, and I doubt he had any intention of running her up to his parents house. And Lovey, I'm sure the medical examiner determined the origins of the bites.

  • Joel Rado Feb 27, 2014
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    I just want these individuals to be locked up for good and never be allowed to return to the streets. Violent criminals should be permanently removed from society.

  • Dreamer707 Feb 27, 2014

    This child was most certainly failed by many. The paternal grandparents tried for weeks to reach the girls mother with no success before she left for military training. Unfortunately grandparents in NC do not have rights. This little girl had two parents that she depended on. One failed her by drug trafficking and becoming incarcerated. The other, whome I find is equally to blame for her death failed her by knowingly leaving her in a sadistic monsters hands. She watched this man force alcohol down her throat before this. Teghan could have been living with her grandparents who loved her and gave her the first three years of her happy life as seen in the good photos but the mother took that world away from teghan. She too is sadistic in my opinion.

  • Jane Tuohey Feb 27, 2014
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    They said that the shed is in his grandparents back yard, so why did they allow a little one to live in a shed like an animal, they have a lot to answer for...

  • Karen Orndorff Feb 27, 2014
    user avatar

    This guy just does not even deserve our time nor money.

  • EricaSliver Feb 27, 2014

    This poor little girl was failed by many. It makes me so sad that this sweet child's short life was lived in terror and pain. And right in my "backyard" (same county). It makes me wonder how many other children are going through similar horrors right under our noses.

  • dragonflyz Feb 27, 2014

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    I saw on WRAL yesterday that due to the sensitive nature and graphic content, that only the opening and closing statements would be streamed, but that the news would include trial updates.

  • raleighrealtor1 Feb 27, 2014

    Others should carry guilt and responsibility for this little girls life just as this guy. Who would let someone live in a shed out back with no running water or bathroom especially with a child?????

  • loveyhowell Feb 27, 2014

    I'm curious about the bite marks too...human, animal? Did investigators determine they were the defendants bite marks.