Local News

Jurors see more evidence in tortured 4-year-old girl's murder case

Posted March 4, 2014 8:04 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2014 8:26 p.m. EST

Charlotte Fournier, a former crime scene investigator for the Johnston County Sheriff's Office, holds up a child's jacket for jurors in the capital murder trial of Jonathan Richardson on March 4, 2014. (Chad Flowers/WRAL)

— Johnston County prosecutors seeking the death penalty against a man accused of torturing and killing his girlfriends' 4-year-old daughter showed jurors more than 100 pieces of evidence Tuesday as they continued laying out their case.

Jonathan Douglas Richardson, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse, sexual offense with a child and kidnapping in the July 19, 2010, death of Teghan Skiba.

The state says Richardson locked the child in the shed behind his grandparents' Smithfield home and physically and sexually abused her while her mother was at Army Reserve training in New Mexico.

Teghan died three days after Richardson took her to a local emergency room, claiming she hit her head while jumping on a bed. An autopsy found the child died from blunt force head injuries and had bite marks, cuts and bruises all over her body.

Charlotte Fournier, a former crime scene investigator who testified for two days last week, returned to the witness stand Tuesday to show jurors more items she collected from the shed, which she described last week as "cluttered and dirty."

Among the items were several pieces of clothing, children's flip flops, building blocks and children's DVDs such as "Pocahontas," "Lady and the Tramp" and "Undercover Dora."

Although prosecutors say Richardson tormented, terrorized and tortured the young girl, defense attorneys trying to keep Richardson from facing the death penalty contend otherwise.

They say he never sexually abused Teghan and didn't mean to kill her. He lacked experience and parenting skills and blame her death on his undiagnosed mental problems, his own experiences of being abused as a child and approval from Teghan's mother that physically abusing the child was OK.