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05th Oct 2022

Woman who killed friend and cut unborn baby from her womb faces death penalty

April Curtin

She left the mum-to-be to die in front of her child and drove away with the baby on her lap

A mother-of-two is facing the death penalty after killing her 21-year-old friend and cutting her unborn baby from her womb.

Taylor Rene Parker was found guilty of murdering Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock and kidnapping her daughter, who later died.

The 29-year-old was found to have beaten the young mother-to-be in the head at least five times, in the incident which took place in Texas in October 2020. Parker then cut the 21-year-old’s abdomen from “hip to hip” to remove her baby, assistant district attorney Lauren Richards said.

“It was no quick death,” Richards said, “She just kept cutting her. I guess Reagan would not die fast enough for Taylor to get out of there and get on with her plans.”

Simmons-Hancock was still alive after having her baby cut from her womb. But Parker left her to die in front of her three-year-old daughter, and drove away with the baby on her lap. Parker then stuffed the placenta in her trousers to fake giving birth.

The court heard how Parker faked being pregnant in the lead up to the killing – despite having a hysterectomy – because she was scared of losing her boyfriend. She even had a gender reveal party and posted photos on social media about her fake pregnancy.

A jury of six men and women took just one hour to reach a guilty verdict at Bowie County in northeast Texas, following three weeks of testimony which involved over 60 witnesses.

Parker’s legal team tried to get the kidnapping charge dismissed in a bid to have the capital murder charge lowered to murder.

Jeff Harrelson, a lawyer for the defence, said: “You can’t kidnap a person who has not been born alive.”

But prosecutors called on several medical professionals, who testified that the baby had a heartbeat when she was born.

In her closing statement, First Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Kelley Crisp said to the jury: “Y’all decide the boundaries of today. What will we tolerate? Is it open season on expectant mothers? That was a live baby.”

Parker’s sentencing is set to begin on October 12. Prosecutors are seeking a death penalty could jurors may choose life imprisonment without parole instead.

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