Psychologist grilled by prosecutors in Richardson trial's penalty phase as defense rests

There was new testimony Tuesday in the sentencing phase of the Jonathan Richardson murder trial.
April 1, 2014 2:23:38 PM PDT
The defense has rested in the sentencing portion of the Jonathan Richardson trial.

Richardson was found guilty of torturing and killing 4-year old Teghan Skiba, and now a jury has to decide if he should live or die.

A defense-hired psychologist was on the stand again Tuesday and the prosecution grilled the doctor all day long.

"I asked him do you miss her and he said, 'A lot. I sit in my room and cry about it and think about it a lot." Do you miss Helen? 'Not like I miss our daughter,'" said psychologist Dr. Mathew Mendel.

Richardson did say he missed Teghan, but never expressed remorse. Apparently, the defendant even has a tattoo with Teghan Skiba's name on his body.

Richardson was convicted of torturing and murdering the 4-year-old girl last week in under an hour, and the defendant even confessed to that doctor how the fatal injuries happened.

"He lay her in bed to go to sleep, tried to wake her up and couldn't, but she was not responsive," said Mendel. "He got mad at her, began shaking her, and her head hit the metal door a couple of times."

Richardson was found guilty last week of first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping, and sexual offense with a child in the 2010 death of his then-girlfriend's daughter. He now faces a possible death sentence.

During his closing arguments one week ago, an emotional Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson told jurors Skiba was tortured, sexually assaulted, and beaten by Richardson 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 took Skiba to Johnston Medical - 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 after she was transferred to UNC.

Richardson's defense attorney Jonathan Broun said during his closing argument that Richardson never intended to kill the girl. Instead, the attorney said Richardson shook the child so hard that it caused brain injuries, and then waited too long to get her medical help.

Closing arguments will begin Thursday and then it will be up to the jury to decide whether Richardson will get life imprisonment or a death sentence.

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