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Defense rests in Johnston County child slaying case

Posted March 21, 2014

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— The defense rested Friday in the capital murder case of Jonathan Douglas Richardson, who is accused of torturing and killing his former girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter, Teghan Skiba, in July 2010.

Closing arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the trial, which is now its fourth week.

Prosecutors say Richardson, 25, tortured, tormented and sexually abused Teghan for 10 days before taking her to a hospital emergency room with a fatal head injury. Several investigators and health care workers who treated Teghan wept during their testimony as they described the girl’s injuries, including dozens of bite marks on her body, as among the worst they had ever seen.

The girl’s mother Helen Reyes, left her daughter in Richardson’s care while she when to New Mexico for Army Reserve training. She is charged with felony negligent child abuse.

Richardson is charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping and sexual abuse. Defense attorneys have not denied the abuse happened, but they said Richardson was damaged by years of abuse, uncontrolled anger and untreated mental problems. They said he never sexually abused the girl.

No witnesses took the stand Friday morning, and jurors spent most of that time outside the courtroom.


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  • Brandi Gaenzle Mar 24, 2014
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    He should be put to death and the mother should be charged for neglect and abuse herself for leaving the child with him and knowing about what the hell was going on. Allowing it to go on. Or better yet, give him life and then let the inmates have him when they find out what hes in there for. This is disgusting and so hard to even fathum the idea of someone torturing, abusing or sexually abusing an innocent child. There is punishment severe enough for people such as child molesters and child abusers etc.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Mar 21, 2014

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    So true!!!

  • LovemyPirates Mar 21, 2014

    paulej - the jury is supposed to examine all the evidence presented during the trial after they go into deliberation. If they go into the jury room for only 5 minutes, they absolutely are providing an opening for appeal.

  • junkbeetle290 Mar 21, 2014

    Unless they wanted to offer him life, he couldn't plead guilty. If they refused to take the death penalty off the table, he would have to have gone to trial. Otherwise, he would effectively be sentencing himself to death.

  • brandy213122 Mar 21, 2014

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    I don't remember hearing the proscecution offering a plea. They may not have wanted to. I really feel like the prosecution wants the death penalty for him. Who wouldn't?? I think a legal injection is WAY TOO kind for him. I would prefer diggin a hole, burying up to his chest (arms buried as well) and let him be stoned to death. I guess we all don't get what we want though.

  • 678devilish Mar 21, 2014

    Lets pray that the jury will make the right decision and send him to prison for life. The mother should have been charged for child endangerment, leaving the child with a man she barely knew.

  • A person Mar 21, 2014

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    I would be surprised if the jury deliberates beyond the first ballot count as that should be more than enough

  • 678devilish Mar 21, 2014

    He should get life in prison and no parole because of all the things he did to this baby.

  • Janni Cone Mar 21, 2014
    user avatar

    I think that even the "defense" team knows that there is really no defense to what this monster did and there's very little possibility to put the blame elsewhere, point to any other suspect, or even be that sympathetic to the jury. I can't imagine what he was thinking going to trial. Hopefully it was against the advice of his counsel - because as a defense lawyer - you'd have to think that as the evidence was presented - it was only gonna get worse for him. Anyone know if a plea was ever even on the table???
    I suspect jury to deliberate a little over one day and figure out how to deliver verdict so they can get a half day to themselves... and avoid the media.

  • Alexia Proper Mar 21, 2014
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    Totally agree. Closing arguments are not evidence, anyway. I'm pretty sure that the evidence is forever and unfortunately locked in the minds of those jurors. There's nothing the closing arguments can do, except prolong the suffering of the jurors.