Fornshell said that was one of the factors he considered when making the decision whether or not to seek the death penalty.
“There was evidence presented to the grand jury that she purposely caused the death of the child.… The grand jury found probable cause that she purposely caused the death of the baby, but that is a far cry proving beyond a reasonable doubt to get the death penalty,” Fornshell said.
None of those in the prosecutor’s office who reviewed the case believed successfully getting the death penalty was possible, he said.
“This whole discussion was had in my office, and there wasn’t a single prosecutor or assistant prosecutor that looked at this case and believed that this was one where we would be likely to obtain the death penalty,” Fornshell said.
Richardson was also indicted on a much lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter for the alleged death of the baby. Fornshell said the charges all come down to interpretation of the evidence by a jury.
“So, depending on how you interpret the evidence, you can assign different levels of mental culpability to action or inaction,” Fornshell said. “(You can say) I think this was a purposeful killing, I think this was a somebody who at a minimum was reckless in terms of their care, or lack there of, of a newborn child because they did not want the child.”