Video of Teghan Skiba days before death leaves jurors shaken
Posted March 18, 2014
Smithfield, N.C. — After 17 days of testimony, Johnston County prosecutors rested their case Tuesday afternoon in the capital murder trial of a Smithfield man accused of torturing, sexually abusing and killing his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter nearly four years ago.
Daylong, graphic testimony from a pediatrician who specializes in child physical and sexual abuse ended with the state showing jurors a video of Teghan Skiba – dressed in a pink shirt and dark pants with her arms outstretched – facing a wall and repeating a half-dozen times, "When I have to pee, I promise I will tell someone."
Jurors then heard the sound of a man on the video that prosecutors say is Jonathan Douglas Richardson yelling for the child to speak up.
Apparently stressed, she speaks up and repeats the phrase four more times.
The 37-second video, taken at 2:31 a.m. on July 10, 2010, left several jurors visibly shaken and at least one in tears. Some court personnel were crying as well.
The state contends it was the last image of Teghan conscious and alive.
Six days later, prosecutors say, Richardson, 25, took the child – near death – to a local emergency room, claiming she fell off a bed and hit her head. She had more than 60 bite marks, as well as cuts and bruises covering her body.
Richardson faces charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, felony child abuse and sexual offense with a child and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Defense attorneys, who could begin presenting their case Wednesday, say their client never meant to kill Teghan and that her death was a "horrific" event resulting from "uncontrollable anger."
Richardson, they say, had no idea how to deal with his anger and undiagnosed mental problems. Nor did he have any parenting skills or experience around children and only could draw on his own experiences of being abused as a child.
They maintain, however, that he never sexually abused the child.
Dr. Kenya McNeal-Trice, a pediatrician at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where Teghan died July 19, 2010, however, testified that there were injuries to the child's body that were consistent with sexual abuse.