Aunt of slain 4-year-old Teghan Skiba testifies in Smithfield

The aunt of Teghan Skiba cried on the witness stand as she spoke about the last time she saw the little girl.
March 11, 2014 3:24:41 PM PDT
The aunt of 4-year-old Teghan Skiba cried on the witness stand Tuesday as she spoke about the last time she saw the little girl.

Maira Reyes said she was with Teghan in early July, 2010, and at that time, her body was unscathed.

"I didn't see anything on her," said Reyes.

Prosecutors allege that the former boyfriend of Teghan's mother - 25-year-old Jonathan Richardson - was supposed to be caring for the child over a 10-day period while Reyes was out of state for Army Reserves training later that July. Prosecutors say Teghan was tortured, sexually assaulted, and beaten. Richardson took Skiba to Johnston Medical Center claiming she 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 is charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Richardson's defense attorneys have argued that their client is mentally ill and that the Johnston County girl's death was a tragic accident.

On the witness stand Tuesday, Maira Reyes said her family didn't approve of her sister Helen seeing Richardson. So, Helen moved out and took Teghan with her.

"My mom didn't wanted want Jonathan going over anymore and my sister, you know, she liked Jonathan and she wanted him to keep coming over," said Reyes.

A dentist testifying Monday in the trial told jurors that after seeing the horrific injuries on the 4 year old's body he prayed she wouldn't live.

"I immediately said a prayer that she would die," said Dr. Richard Barbaro.

Barbaro went on to say the case is the worst thing he's seen in his 30 career in forensic odontology, and that he has  never seen so many bite marks on a person.

Dr. Barbaro told jurors that the bite marks on Skiba's body were an exact match for Richardson. He said some were so extreme that the flesh was literally torn off.

He said there were more than 60 marks that covered her all over.

"Bite mark injuries would inflict a lot of pain," said Barbaro.  "The pain of tearing off skin would be excruciating."

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