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Murder Trial Underway For Woman Accused Of Killing Pregnant Friend, Stealing Her Unborn Baby
Taylor Parker is accused of brutally murdering her friend, expectant mother Reagan Simmons-Hancocok, and cutting the woman's baby from her dead body in order to keep her own boyfriend.
Opening arguments have begun in the trial of a woman accused of murdering her pregnant friend and stealing the woman's unborn baby to support her false pregnancy claims and maintain her own romantic relationship.
Taylor Rene Parker, 29, is charged with the brutal murder of Reagan Simmons-Hancock, 21. The victim was eight months pregnant with her unborn daughter, Braxlynn Sage, at the time of her murder. The child did not survive.
Simmons-Hancock was found dead by her own mother in her New Boston home — part of northeastern Texas, not far from the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana state borders — on Oct. 9, 2020.
Opening arguments were delivered Monday in a New Boston courtroom, outlining new details of the horrific double murder, according to People. Officials say that Simmons-Hancock was stabbed more than 100 times and had her skull crushed in with a hammer before her killer used a scalpel to remove the infant from her womb.
Parker allegedly left the murdered woman's 3-year-old child alone with her mother's bloodied body.
The revelations come before a packed courtroom of spectators, according to ABC Shreveport, Louisiana affiliate KTBS.
Parker — who had allegedly been faking her own pregnancy for months — was pulled over at around 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the murder by a DeKalb, Texas trooper. She was reportedly trying to perform CPR on the unresponsive baby, who was still attached to its mother’s placenta.
Parker claimed she had just given birth and that the baby wasn’t breathing.
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp stated in her opening arguments that Parker had “stuffed Reagan’s placenta down her pants to make it look like she had given birth on the side of the road.”
Parker and the baby were transported by ambulance to the McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, where the baby was pronounced dead a short time later.
Medical personnel grew suspicious after Parker refused a postpartum examination, which would have confirmed if she’d just given birth and would've been necessary for a recently pregnant woman's health.
Prosecutors said in opening statements that Simmons-Hancock’s murder and Parker’s faked pregnancy were both part of a desperate attempt by Parker to remain in a relationship with her then-boyfriend, Wade Griffin.
“The lies and fraud go on and on — the layers of fraud are staggering,” said Crisp. “You are going to have to understand the fraud to understand what happened on Oct. 9. This started months and months ahead of time until it passed the point of no return, and it ended up in homicide.”
Crisp argued that Parker had disguised herself as an expectant mother for nearly 10 months, including by faking ultrasounds, creating bogus social media posts about the pregnancy and even holding a gender-reveal party, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate KXAS-TV. KTBS reported she also allegedly purchased a fake pregnancy belly to keep up with appearances.
She also allegedly offered $100,000 to potential surrogate mothers, claiming she could not conceive due to her being sterile.
Crisp referred to Parker as “an actress of the highest order,” according to People.
On the day of the murder, Wade Griffin — believing Parker was carrying his child — said he was waiting to meet Parker at the hospital so that Parker's labor could be induced, which is common after the 40-week mark. Crisp mentioned during opening statements that, while Griffin waited, Parker allegedly plotted to call in a fake bomb threat to the hospital in order to delay her supposed induction, which had not actually been scheduled, according to People.
Crisp referred to Parker as being obsessed with Griffin, who did not reciprocate her feelings, according to KTSB.
“Taylor didn’t want any more children,” Crisp said in court, according to People. “She killed Reagan and ripped her baby out just to keep her boyfriend.”
Parker has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and kidnapping charges.
“It’s a complicated case, factual and emotionally,” Parker’s defense attorney, Jeff Harrelson, told jurors. “The law is the lens and filter you must view these facts through. Sometimes, it’s not black and white, but a shade of gray.”
If convicted, Parker faces the death penalty. According to the Texarkana Gazette, the trial is expected to last for a month.