Defense rests in Johnston County child slaying case
Posted March 21, 2014
Smithfield, N.C. — 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.