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Mother of convicted child killer: 'I have to forgive him'

Posted April 4, 2014
Updated April 5, 2014

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— Jonathan Richardson’s mother was in the courtroom Thursday night when he was handcuffed and taken back to prison after being sentenced to death for the torture and killing of his former girlfriend’s daughter, 4-year-old Teghan Skiba.

And she hurt.

"I understand the anger and bitterness because I feel it, too, after what happened to Teghan,” Sandy Creech said Friday. “But he's still my son, and I love him dearly. And he needs me now more than ever."

Being there for her son while he is on death row means looking at him through bars and shatterproof glass. Creech likely will never touch him again.

Richardson, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense of a child and felony child abuse in Teghan's death in July 2010. She died from a fatal head wound three days after he took her to a Johnston County hospital, claiming she fell off a bed.

The lengthy and emotional trial revealed the unspeakable horror of her abuse – she was whipped with a frayed electrical cord, had a nail pried off her finger and her arms broken, and suffered severe trauma to her genitals. Jurors, witnesses and even veteran law enforcement personnel were brought to tears at times during the testimony.

"I'm in disbelief that the Jonathan I know could do this," Creech said. "I have to forgive him, not for him but for myself. I hope the community can do the same."

Teghan’s mother, Helen Reyes, left the girl in his care while she went out of state for military training. Reyes is facing a charge of felony child neglect. She was not in court for the sentencing Thursday.

Creech said she never met Teghan, and she never knew that her son was caring for the child alone when she died. Richardson, Reyes and Teghan lived together in a shed behind his grandparents’ home in Smithfield.

"There's a lot of healing that needs to be done," Creech said. "That will come with time and faith in God."

Creech does have a message for Teghan’s family:

“Words cannot even express how sorry I am that this happened. My heart goes out to them and the pain that they’ve had to go through. I can’t imagine what they’ve gone through. I’m just so sorry – I just didn’t know. I had no idea that Teghan was there, I just didn’t know. I just had no idea. I would have done something had I only known, and I’m hoping they can heal because I know the pain is horrible for them and has been.”


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  • Michi Gauss Apr 4, 2014
    user avatar

    We don't have to forgive him and we'll never forget what he did. He hurt so many people not just little Teghan.

  • carolinaprincess62 Apr 4, 2014

    Just one question, the grandfather of Teghan, who spoke out when the sentence was given, where was he when this little girl was left with this man?

  • farello1 Apr 4, 2014

    Not a media circus, I feel bad for Judge Tom Lock, the jurors, the sheriff's department, all the people that were involved with testifying that had to sit through this trial, and had to listen to the horrific details of how Teghan was tortured.
    Praying that Teghan Skiba is now at peace, and she doesn't have to fear the terrible monster anymore.
    God Rest Her Soul

  • datruf Apr 4, 2014

    A entire family has been painted as crazed and those that only know them through the media I would truly understand this conclusion. However, MANY families have 1 member (maybe more) that consume everyone in their path-much like a natural disaster.

    Everyone helps until emotionally bankrupt. I too am baffled by Jonathan's actions. I have known him and his family my entire life. I have been left stunned. My heart breaks for Sandy and her parents (because the public picture that has been painted is a great media frenzy but not quite reality).

    I watched Jonathan seemingly emotionally deceased throughout this entire trial. I just remember a happy kid running around outside. Tough to replace that image with the current truths.

    Our hearts are heavy for all the lives that have been forever altered by this tragedy. Sandy Creech stated it best "There's a lot of healing that needs to be done," Creech said. "That will come with time and faith in God."

  • farello1 Apr 4, 2014

    Justice served, but all too late for Teghan.
    What about Teghan's mother, and the Grandmother, they could have prevented this from happening, you wouldn't leave an animal in such a deplorable and dangerous environment.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Apr 4, 2014

    View quoted thread


    PLUS - what's she got to forgive him for? It wasn't her little girl he raped, tortured and beat so badly she died from the injuries he inflicted anyway.


  • Backtothemountains Apr 4, 2014

    He is still her child and I can understand the sadness but his actions cannot be forgiven. My thoughts and prayers are with a mother is also going through hell.

  • CherryDarling Apr 4, 2014

    While I am sympathetic towards his mother (assuming she had nothing directly or indirectly to do with what he did), it was inappropriate for her to speak about it to the news. Typical of WRAL to go ahead and post though...

  • enderw99 Apr 4, 2014

    View quoted thread

    That kind of speculation really doesn't help becuase we'll never know.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Apr 4, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Maybe, but it's nice to know she did love him. Up til now, we've had little indication anyone but the grandmother gave a dang about him, and that she enabled him to commit this crime and other odd things, like shooting a neighbor's dog, when the dog was still on its own property and not endangering him on his own.