Taylor Rene Parker Convicted of Killing Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock to Take Her Unborn Baby

A Texas woman was convicted of manslaughter Monday for killing a pregnant woman to take her unborn baby. A Bowie County jury in northeast Texas deliberated for about an hour before finding Taylor Renee Parker29, guilty of murdering Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock, 21, in October 2020 and abducting her daughter who was cut from the womb, who later died.

This undated booking photo provided by the Bi-State Detention Center in Texarkana, Texas, shows Taylor Renee Parker.
This undated booking photo provided by the Bi-State Detention Center in Texarkana, Texas, shows Taylor Renee Parker.

Interstate Detention Center through AP

The verdict by a jury of six men and six women came after three weeks of sometimes gruesome testimony.

Parker’s lawyers argued the baby was never alive and asked to dismiss the kidnapping charge, which would have reduced the manslaughter charge to murder.

“That’s why in opening statements we spent so much time on definitions. You can’t kidnap a person who wasn’t born alive,” Jeff Harrelson said in his closing arguments to the jury.

Prosecutors said, however, that several medical professionals testified that the infant had a heartbeat when it was born. They also recounted Parker’s actions leading up to the day Simmons-Hancock was killed.

“We’ve methodically described what (Parker) did, why she did it, all the moving parts and all the collateral damage. The best evidence the state of Texas has that the baby was born alive is that Taylor Parker said she wasn’t.” ,” said District Attorney Kelley Crisp.

Fellow prosecutor Lauren Richards recounted all the guises Parker had put on for different people, including a feigned pregnancy before the murder.

“Over the past two weeks, the evidence has never been clearer,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards told jurors. “He’s a liar, a manipulator, and now he’s going to be held accountable for it.”

She reminded jurors how Reagan was hit in the head at least five times with such force that the blows compressed her skull against her brain.

“The pain that Reagan felt when Taylor started cutting into her abdomen, hip to hip … indescribable,” Richards said. “When Taylor had the baby and Reagan was still alive, that’s when Taylor started slashing and slashing. He can’t leave her alive. It wasn’t a quick death. He just kept slashing her. I guess Reagan wouldn’t she was dying fast enough for Taylor to get out of there and continue her plans.”

During the trial, a state police investigator testified that Parker conducted an intensive investigation of how to fake a pregnancy convincingly. On the day of the murder, he watched a video of the physical examination of an infant born prematurely at 35 weeks, said Special Agent in Charge Dustin Estes.

After the killing, Parker was stopped by a Texas trooper in DeKalb, Texas, 12 miles northwest of the crime scene, CBS DFW mentionted. She told the trooper that she had given birth on the side of the road and that the baby was not breathing, an official said.

The station reported that Parker was then taken to a hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, where the baby was pronounced dead.

The punishment phase is scheduled to begin on October 12. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, although jurors may choose life in prison without parole.

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