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

Taylor Rene Parker - Bi-State Detention Center via AP
Taylor Rene Parker - Bi-State Detention Center via AP

A Texan woman is facing the death penalty after killing a 21-year-old woman and cutting her unborn baby from her womb.

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

Parker cut Simmons-Hancock from “hip to hip" after beating her in the head five times in October 2020. Simmons-Hancock is said to have still been alive after having her baby cut from her womb.

“It was no quick death,” said assistant district attorney Lauren Richards. "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.”

“The pain Reagan must have felt when Taylor started cutting her abdomen, hip to hip… indescribable," she added.

After leaving Simmons-Hancock alone to die in front of her three-year-old daughter, Parker drove alone with the baby on her lap.

The 29-year-old mother of two stuffed the placenta in her own trousers to fake giving birth.

Prosecutors told the court that Parker faked a pregnancy for ten months, despite having a hysterectomy, because she was scared of losing her boyfriend.

She held a gender reveal party and posted photos on social media about her fake pregnancy. On the day of the murder, Parker told her boyfriend that she was due to be induced.

Richards described Parker as a "liar" and a "manipulator" to the jury of six men and six women at Bowie County in northeast Texas.

The jury took just one hour to reach a guilty verdict.

It followed three weeks of testimony, in which Parker’s legal team pushed to dismiss the kidnapping charge in an effort to have a capital murder charge lowered to murder.

They claimed that the baby could not have been abducted as it was never alive.

“That’s why in opening statements we spent so much time on definitions. You can’t kidnap a person who has not been born alive,” said Parker’s attorney Jeff Harrelson in his final argument to the jury.

But prosecutors called upon medical professionals who testified that her heart was beating when she was born.

"We have methodically laid out what she (Parker) did, why she did it, all the moving parts, and all the collateral damage," prosecutor Kelley Crisp told the court.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but jurors could vote for a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.