Woman is sentenced to death for murdering friend and cutting baby from her womb

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By VT

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A woman has been handed the death sentence after she was convicted of murdering her pregnant friend and cutting out her baby to take as her own.

Taylor Parker, 29, was found guilty last month of killing the young expectant mother, and on Wednesday jurors in Texas decided she should be given the death penalty for the crime, CNN reports.

Parker killed 21-year-old Reagan Simmons-Hancock in October 2020, striking her in the head and slashing her before "cutting her abdomen, hip to hip" to remove the infant, who ultimately died.

The jury had deliberated for just over an hour when they returned with a sentence, according to the Texarkana Gazette. The same jury found Parker guilty of capital murder on October 3.

Per the outlet, after the victim impact statements from the family were read out, Judge John Tidwell told the bailiff: "Take her to death row."

The court was told that Simmons-Hancock, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time, was still alive after the brutal attack - which happened at her home while her three-year-old daughter was there.

Simmons-Hancock's mother Jessica Brooks branded Parker an "evil piece of flesh demon" in a statement in court.

She told her: "My baby was alive still fighting for her babies when you tore her open and ripped her baby from her stomach."

The fatal incident took place in New Boston, 160 miles northeast of Dallas. Parker had been pulled over by a state trooper that morning for speeding and dangerous driving.

The baby was in Parker's lap, with the now-convict having tried to make it appear as though its umbilical cord had come from her pants and that she had just given birth.

The baby was taken to a hospital in Oklahoma, where she was declared dead.

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Credit: Bi-State Detention Center

It became clear at the hospital that it was not true that Parker had given birth to the baby.

According to prosecutors, leading up to the murder, Parker made herself look like she was expecting a little one, faked ultrasounds and staged a gender-reveal party.

During the trial, a state police investigator told the jury that Parker had carried out a great deal of research on how to successfully convince people that she was pregnant. On the day of the murder, she watched footage of the physical exam of a baby delivered pre-term at 35 weeks.

The victim's husband, Homer Hancock, had explained that his wife was "somewhat friends" with Parker and that Parker had taken their wedding and engagement pictures.

The convicted killer's legal team argued that she had been let down by family and friends who failed to challenge her about the false pregnancy.

"There was no safety net when everyone saw the wheels were off," defence attorney Jeff Harrelson said.

The jurors in Bowie County were shown a harrowing image featuring Simmons-Hancock's bleeding body as the prosecution made its closing statements on Wednesday.

Life without possibility of parole was also on the cards for Parker but the jury decided she must join death row. Her attorney said they plan to appeal.

Featured image credit: Westend61 GmbH / Alamy

Woman is sentenced to death for murdering friend and cutting baby from her womb

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A woman has been handed the death sentence after she was convicted of murdering her pregnant friend and cutting out her baby to take as her own.

Taylor Parker, 29, was found guilty last month of killing the young expectant mother, and on Wednesday jurors in Texas decided she should be given the death penalty for the crime, CNN reports.

Parker killed 21-year-old Reagan Simmons-Hancock in October 2020, striking her in the head and slashing her before "cutting her abdomen, hip to hip" to remove the infant, who ultimately died.

The jury had deliberated for just over an hour when they returned with a sentence, according to the Texarkana Gazette. The same jury found Parker guilty of capital murder on October 3.

Per the outlet, after the victim impact statements from the family were read out, Judge John Tidwell told the bailiff: "Take her to death row."

The court was told that Simmons-Hancock, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time, was still alive after the brutal attack - which happened at her home while her three-year-old daughter was there.

Simmons-Hancock's mother Jessica Brooks branded Parker an "evil piece of flesh demon" in a statement in court.

She told her: "My baby was alive still fighting for her babies when you tore her open and ripped her baby from her stomach."

The fatal incident took place in New Boston, 160 miles northeast of Dallas. Parker had been pulled over by a state trooper that morning for speeding and dangerous driving.

The baby was in Parker's lap, with the now-convict having tried to make it appear as though its umbilical cord had come from her pants and that she had just given birth.

The baby was taken to a hospital in Oklahoma, where she was declared dead.

size-full wp-image-1263177638
Credit: Bi-State Detention Center

It became clear at the hospital that it was not true that Parker had given birth to the baby.

According to prosecutors, leading up to the murder, Parker made herself look like she was expecting a little one, faked ultrasounds and staged a gender-reveal party.

During the trial, a state police investigator told the jury that Parker had carried out a great deal of research on how to successfully convince people that she was pregnant. On the day of the murder, she watched footage of the physical exam of a baby delivered pre-term at 35 weeks.

The victim's husband, Homer Hancock, had explained that his wife was "somewhat friends" with Parker and that Parker had taken their wedding and engagement pictures.

The convicted killer's legal team argued that she had been let down by family and friends who failed to challenge her about the false pregnancy.

"There was no safety net when everyone saw the wheels were off," defence attorney Jeff Harrelson said.

The jurors in Bowie County were shown a harrowing image featuring Simmons-Hancock's bleeding body as the prosecution made its closing statements on Wednesday.

Life without possibility of parole was also on the cards for Parker but the jury decided she must join death row. Her attorney said they plan to appeal.

Featured image credit: Westend61 GmbH / Alamy