More evidence presented in 4-year-old Teghan Skiba murder case

Four-year-old Teghan Skiba was allegedly tortured inside a shed by her mother's boyfriend, Jonathan Richardson.
March 6, 2014 1:33:51 PM PST
More evidence was presented Thursday in the murder trial of Jonathan Richardson, who is accused of killing a 4-year-old Johnston County girl.

Teghan Skiba was allegedly tortured, sexually assaulted, and beaten by her mother's boyfriend over a 10-day period while her mother, Helen Roxanne Reyes, was out-of-state for Army Reserves training in July 2010.

The then-21-year-old Richardson had originally taken Skiba to Johnston Medical Center -- she was later transferred to UNC-- claiming the girl had fallen off the bed. However, doctors found she had cuts, bruises, a head wound, and bite marks on her body. Skiba died days later from her injuries.

Richardson's attorneys have said all along that Skiba's death was a tragic accident and that their client is mentally ill. Richardson says the little girl got those severe head injuries by falling off a bed.

However, SBI lab analysts found a lot of evidence on the girl's clothes, and on duct tape.

"The black pants, size 4T gave a KM or a Kastle-Meyer positive, meaning it revealed chemical indications  for the presence of blood," said Former SBI analyst Gina Autry.

"All five hairs were found to be microscopically similar to the head hair standard of the victim," said former SBI analyst Kate Carter.

Some of the items discussed Thursday were Skiba's clothes and the blood found on them, the defendant's clothes, and an extension cord allegedly used to torture the child with.

Also on Thursday, a detective told the jury in the case about a camera found inside the shed where the girl was living with her mother and Richardson.

For over an hour, the detective talked about the time stamps on photos and video taken from the camera, which may have had images of the 4-year-old girl in the days leading up to her death.

The detective admitted the time stamps on the photos were wrong and talked about how he came up with new dates. However, Richardson's defense team made it clear they took issue with his analysis -- claiming the detective did not really consult proper experts.

Last week, the attending physician at UNC's intensive care unit for children testified that he "nearly vomited" when he saw Skiba at the hospital and that he had never seen injuries like that on any child in his 25 years as a doctor.

"We saw this small frail girl who you know from her status she was pale, she was poorly perfused, in shock, those parts ... don't portray how beaten this child was when she ... I had a first look at her," Dr. Keith Kocis said. "These scars, these whip marks, these injuries to her skin that were all over her body, I mean there was essentially no part of her body that was spared."

Authorities have said the 4 year old was tortured inside the air conditioned shed behind Richardson's grandparents' home, where she was living. There was no running water, no bathroom, and just a single air mattress on the floor to sleep on.

A doctor is expected to testify Friday.

Richardson has been charged with first-degree murder, and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

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