Wednesday, a Texas jury gave a woman the death penalty for killing a pregnant woman because she wanted the woman’s baby.
The Texarkana Gazette said that the jury took a little more than an hour to decide on Taylor Parker’s sentence. The same Bowie County jury found Parker guilty on Oct. 3 of killing 21-year-old Reagan Simmons-Hancock in 2020. Her unborn baby was cut out of her womb and did not survive.
Simmons-mother Hancock’s called Parker a “evil piece of flesh demon” in a statement she gave to the court.
Jessica Brooks said, “You cut my baby open and took her baby out while she was still alive and fighting for her babies.”
Simmons-body Hancock’s was found on October 9, 2020, at her home in New Boston, which is about 160 miles (258 kilometres) northeast of Dallas and has about 4,600 people. When her mother died, her 3-year-old daughter was at home.
Later that morning, after a state trooper pulled her over for speeding and driving erratically, Parker said she had just given birth. The baby, named Braxlynn Sage Hancock, was taken to a hospital in Oklahoma, where she was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors say that Parker made herself look pregnant, faked ultrasounds, and even had a party to find out the baby’s gender so she could keep her boyfriend.
Simmons-husband, Hancock’s Homer Hancock, said in court that his wife and Parker were “kind of friends” and that Parker took their engagement and wedding photos.
In her closing remarks, prosecutor Kelley Crisp showed the jury a picture of Simmons-Hancock lying on the floor of the crime scene, covered in blood. She told the jury that Parker should get the death sentence because she is dangerous.
She said that Simmons-Hancock had her baby taken from her and was beaten and “slashed” hundreds of times.
Jeff Harrelson, Parker’s lawyer, told the jury in his closing remarks that “words can be used to dehumanise” and that people’s lives have “layers” and “shades of grey.”
He said, “She is a person.”
Harrelson also said that Parker’s friends and family let her down when they didn’t talk to her about the fake pregnancy.
“When everyone saw that the wheels were off, there was no safety net,” he said.