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Texas Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Pregnant Friend and Stealing Unborn Baby

 


Welcome to Woman Condemned, where we learn about the lives and crimes of the women on death row, and serving life. Today, we'll take a look at Taylor Parker. Leave your thoughts below.

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — Taylor Parker, a 29-year-old Texas woman, was sentenced to death Wednesday for the gruesome 2020 murder of her friend Reagan Simmons-Hancock and her unborn daughter, Braxlynn Sage Hancock. The sentencing comes after a Bowie County jury deliberated for just over an hour, concluding Parker’s trial which had captivated the region with its shocking details and subsequent jailhouse drama.

The same jury convicted Parkerconvicted Parker of capital murder on October 3 for the slaying of 21-year-old Simmons-Hancock. Parker, driven by a desperate attempt to maintain her relationship with her boyfriend, had gone to extreme lengths to fake a pregnancy, including staging ultrasounds and even hosting a gender-reveal party. The plan culminated in the violent act of cutting Simmons-Hancock’s baby from her womb.



In a powerful victim impact statement, Simmons-Hancock's mother, Jessica Brooks, addressed Parker directly, calling her an "evil piece of flesh demon." She recounted the horrific details of her daughter’s final moments, stating, "My baby was alive still fighting for her babies when you tore her open and ripped her baby from her stomach."

Parker had claimed she had just given birth when she was pulled over for speeding and erratic driving on the morning of October 9, 2020. The baby, Braxlynn Sage Hancock, was taken to a hospital in Oklahoma but did not survive. During the trial, state police investigator Special Agent Dustin Estes testified that Parker had conducted extensive research on how to fake a pregnancy convincingly. On the day of the murder, she watched a video on the physical exam of an infant delivered pre-term at 35 weeks.



Homer Hancock, Simmons-Hancock's husband, testified that Parker and his wife were "somewhat friends," and Parker had taken their engagement and wedding photos. Prosecutor Kelley Crisp described Parker as a continued threat to society, displaying a crime scene photo of Simmons-Hancock drenched in blood. Crisp detailed how Simmons-Hancock had been slashed hundreds of times and beaten before Parker cut the baby from her womb.

Parker's defense attorney, Jeff Harrelson, urged jurors to consider the "layers" and "shades of gray" in Parker's life. He argued that Parker had been let down by her friends and family, who did not confront her about the fake pregnancy. Despite these arguments, the jury found Parker likely to continue committing acts of violence and determined that no significant mitigating circumstances warranted a life sentence over the death penalty.

The investigation revealed that Parker had sliced Simmons-Hancock from hip to hip with a scalpel, causing severe injuries and ultimately removing the baby from her womb. Authorities initially overlooked the scalpel, which was later found lodged in the victim's neck.

The trial took an unexpected turn with testimonies from jail inmates who revealed Parker's attempts to manipulate them from behind bars. Lana Addison, a former jailhouse lover, testified that Parker lied to her about the murder, involving her children in the deceit. Addison recalled how Parker had tried to manipulate her into participating in schemes to exonerate herself, including fabricating stories and planting evidence.

Phyllis Dawson, another inmate, testified that Parker had offered her $5,000 to find witnesses willing to testify that Parker was not present at the crime scene. Dawson, who called Parker "Granny," described how Parker had provided detailed instructions in a puzzle book to fabricate alibis.

Shonnaree Yeager testified that Parker had asked her to distribute a 14-page confession letter to various authorities, framing another inmate, Hannah Hullender, for the crime. Yeager alerted authorities instead, recognizing the intricate details of the crime as suspicious.

Kaleigh Bromsey, an inmate who spent time with Parker in the segregated pod, testified that Parker had asked her to plant evidence and fabricate stories to create an alibi. Bromsey described how Parker manipulated her and other inmates, offering money and promises of legal assistance in exchange for their cooperation.

Judge John Tidwell, addressing Parker, said, "You have been found guilty of capital murder and punished by Texas law to death. I formally sentence you to death. Take her to death row."

The courtroom drama and the shocking details of Parker's crime and subsequent jailhouse schemes have left a lasting impact on the community. As Parker awaits her transfer to death row, the tragic loss of Reagan Simmons-Hancock and her unborn daughter continues to resonate with those who followed the harrowing case

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