A North Carolina man has been found guilty of raping, torturing, and killing a 4-year-old girl in 2010 and now faces a potential death penalty sentence.
Earlier this week, the jury reached a verdict, agreeing that Jonathan Douglas Richardson was guilty on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, felony child abuse, and sexual offense with a child. The victim, Teghan Skiba, was Richardson’s ex-girlfriend’s daughter.
Teghan was reportedly left in Richardson’s care when her mother, Helen Roxana Reyes, had to go to New Mexico for military training. For the next 10 days, authorities say Richardson “sadistically” tortured the girl in a shed near her grandparents’ home in North Carolina.
By the time Teghan was taken to a hospital, she was barely alive. Prosecutor Paul Jackson told jurors that “It was beyond anything emergency workers who received Teghan has ever seen before.”
Doctors found that the girl’s brain was swollen and her body was covered in bruises and bite marks. She also had several broken bones and reportedly had lost more than half of her blood. Teghan died just three days later on July 19, 2010 because of a brain injury that she sustained while being violently shaken.
According to prosecutors, it took Richardson 12 hours after Teghan had hit her head and suffer the brain injury before he brought her to the hospital.
Richardson’s attorney tried to defend his client, saying he had uncontrollable anger issues. After a four-week trial, the jury handed down the verdict this Tuesday, while Richardson watched emotionless.
The next part of the trial is sentencing and a jury will decide whether Richardson will get the death penalty.
The girl’s mother, a member of the Army Reserves, has also been charged with negligent child abuse for leaving the girl in Richardson’s care after he had previously hit her.