Jurors see Richardson's call to mom after arrest in torture case
Posted March 28, 2014
Updated March 30, 2014
Smithfield, N.C. — In a Johnston County Sheriff’s Office interview room, a tearful Jonathan Richardson tried to explain to his mother how he came to be charged with torture, sexual abuse and murder of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter.
Richardson said Teghan Skiba fell off the bed and hit her head. She had a knot, he said, but she seemed fine.
But Sandy Creech knows it is worse than that. Teghan’s brain is swollen. Her body is shutting down.
“I’m going to be in prison for the rest of my life, ain’t I?” Richardson says on the video taken after his arrest.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock allowed jurors on Friday to see the July 16, 2010, video interrogation, which was played in the courtoom last week, outside their presence.
The jury of seven women and five men has already found Richardson, now 25, guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense of a child and felony child abuse inflicting serious injury.
They must decide whether that conviction earns him the death penalty.
In the video, Richardson says he only popped Teghan in the leg with a power cord. He says he felt awful about it.
But his mother has already heard about some of the wounds on Teghan, including dozens of bite marks, and the signs of sexual abuse.
"I just can’t fathom the thought of you sexually abusing her,” Creech says.
Richardson replies, “I haven’t.”
Creech says she's "praying to God" that Teghan pulls through, and Richardson says he wants the same thing.
“I love her so much. She calls me daddy!” he said.
The jury also heard from Teghan’s grandmother and maternal aunt, who described a happy, loving child who loved to snuggle.
“I miss waking up to her. I miss her putting her blanket all around and her toys, and then cuddling right next to me,” Maira Reyes said. “Sometimes, we’d just cuddle up and watch her favorite shows all day.”
Richardson’s attorneys say Teghan's death was not intentional but was partly the result of undiagnosed mental problems and physical abuse he suffered as a child.
Another witness, a psychiatrist who evaluated Richardson, will take the stand for the defense Monday.