Local News

4-year-old's alleged killer bought first-aid supplies before hospital visit

Posted March 17, 2014

Jonathan Richardson waits during his first-degree murder trial on March 12, 2014.

— A Smithfield man accused of torturing and raping his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter was recorded on security video buying first-aid supplies at a local Walmart hours before he ended up taking the child to an emergency room for injuries witnesses in his capital murder trial have described as horrifying.

Testifying Monday in Jonathan Richardson's trial for the July 19, 2010, death of Teghan Skiba, Johnston County sheriff's investigator Michael Lambert said the early-morning shopping trip happened at 2 a.m., three days before the girl's death.

Lambert testified that Teghan was not with Richardson in the video, nor was she with him in several other security videos of the 25-year-old buying various other items ranging from an air mattress to beer.

Johnston County prosecutors seeking the death penalty against Richardson contend he locked Teghan in a shed behind his grandparents' home and abused her for 10 days while her mother was out of town.

When he took her to Johnston Memorial Hospital on July 16, 2010, she had more than 60 bite marks, as well as cuts and bruises, covering her body, witnesses have testified.

Another witness testified Monday that Teghan's DNA was found on the wired ends of an electrical cord that prosecutors believe he used to whip her.

Although her injuries were numerous, Teghan died from blunt force injuries to her skull, according to an autopsy report.

In addition to first-degree murder, Richardson faces charges of felony child abuse, sexual offense with a child and kidnapping.

Defense attorneys don't deny that Richardson physically abused Teghan, but they maintain that he is innocent of sexually assaulting her.

They blame the girl's death on Richardson's lack of parenting skills as well as his undiagnosed mental problems and his own experiences of being abused as a child.

Prosecutors could rest their case on Tuesday. Monday marked the fourth week of testimony in case.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 18, 2014

    "THAT is why someone’s past is relevant" – JustOneGodLessThanU

    “It's not relevant to guilt, punishment, and justice.” – Lightfoot3

    Is it completely moral to prosecute someone who did something because of a severe trauma they suffered as a child?

    What about someone with PTSD from the Iraq war who snapped and did bad things?

    Are these folks completely responsible for their behavior and should we punish them just as harshly as a completely sane person who had none of these traumatic experiences?...experiences that changed who they were?

    And, what if certain people work hard to continue to oppress the poor, thus creating more strife and abuse...which manifests itself into increased crime?...ad infinitum. Do these oppressers get a free pass from their creations? Do uncaring people get to keep manufacturing violent poor people?...without being held responsible in any way for the outcomes?

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 18, 2014

    "THAT is why someone’s past is relevant" - JustOneGodLessThanU

    It's not relevant to guilt, punishment, and justice. If you ride with outlaws, you might become an outlaw, but that doesn't mean you escape the legal consequences of being an outlaw.

    "You cannot criticize a lawyer for defending this person!" - Icaretoo

    Yes you can! A fair trial doesn't mean they escape justice. If they are truly guilty they should be punished accordingly. If a defense lawyer is trying to help them escape justice for crimes they really did, then that lawyer is wrong.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 18, 2014

    “Being abused as a child, however, may significantly increase the risk for delinquent or criminal behavior.” – Child Welfare League

    THAT is why someone’s past is relevant...for those here who don’t understand why a criminal’s background matters.

    And since “Americans have a firm resolve when it comes to violent crime”, there’s “a disturbing and widespread irony: When a community fails to protect a child from harm, it may soon be calling for that young person's head.”

    Quotes from: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0103breaklink.htm

  • JAT Mar 18, 2014

    ICARETOO - a fair trial and trying to get a guilty person off scotfree are 2 different things.

  • Judy Fergerson Mar 18, 2014
    user avatar

    Defense attorneys don't deny that Richardson physically abused Teghan, but they maintain that he is innocent of sexually assaulting her. so I guess beating her to death should be a lesser sentence than ???

  • anotherbabyboomer Mar 18, 2014

    Why the kidnappping charge, the mother gave him permission to watch her? He doesn't seem to have any remorse for what he has done, like he is just an observer.

  • Icaretoo Mar 18, 2014

    You cannot criticize a lawyer for defending this person! How ridiculous and ignorant! The right to a fair trial is a basic right in the United States of America and is set out I our Constitution. This lawyer has sworn an oath to defend to the best of his ability. That does not mean he is trying to get him off! If you don't approve of the rights granted under our Constitution, move to Russia or Syria!!!

  • Justic4All Mar 18, 2014

    When did he become alleged? Ok, it was just this week,

  • luxurytravel Mar 18, 2014

    I guess if he had "affulenza" that might make a difference? Unless found incompetent to stand trial, your past should NOT make a difference. They prosecutors cannot bring up any past crimes he may have committed so as not to infulence the jury. So, why should they be allowed to bring up ANYTHING in the past that would influence the jury?

  • free2bme Mar 18, 2014

    This a heart breaking case. Everytime I see Teghan I cry. She is such a beautiful little girl. she looks like the angel she is and I just pray that justice prevails in this case. Any lawyer that would defend the type of torture this child endured using poor parenting skills and past child abuse is sad too.