SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) — A jury in Johnston County took just over an hour Tuesday to reach a unanimous verdict in the Teghan Skiba murder case.
Jonathan Richardson was found guilty of first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping, and sexual offense with a child in the death of the 4 year old.
He could now face the death penalty in the next phase of the trial.
According to WTVD, Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson told jurors in closing arguments that Skiba was tortured, sexually assaulted, and beaten by her mother’s boyfriend over a 10-day period.
Her mother, Helen Roxanne Reyes, was out-of-state for Army Reserves training in July 2010.
“It didn’t end until he beat her brains so badly that she lost consciousness,” said Jackson.
In 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.
Defense attorney Jonathan Broun said Richardson never intended to kill Skiba.
He said Richardson shook the child so hard that it caused brain injuries, and then waited too long to get her medical help.
The defense also claims Richardson was abused as a child by his father and had mental problems that had not yet been diagnosed.