Texas woman convicted of killing mother-to-be and cutting baby from her womb
A woman from Texas is facing the death penalty after being found guilty of killing a woman and cutting her unborn baby from her womb.
Taylor Rene Parker was convicted of murdering 21-year-old Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock and kidnapping her daughter in October 2020.
The 29-year-old had beaten the expectant mother in the head at least five times, before "cutting her abdomen, hip to hip" to remove her baby, which later died.
The conviction came after three weeks of testimony at Bowie Country in northeast Texas, where Parker's legal team argued the baby was never alive. They also tried to get the count of kidnapping dismissed.
“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 Jeff Harrelson in his final argument to the jury.
However, prosecutors argued that several medical professionals had testified the infant had a heartbeat when born.
They also recounted Parker's actions leading to the day Simmons-Hancock was killed."We have methodically laid out what she (Parker) did, why she did it, all the moving parts, and all the collateral damage.
"The best evidence the state of Texas has that baby was born alive is that Taylor Parker said it wasn’t," said prosecutor Kelley Crisp.
The court also heard how Parker had faked being pregnant in the lead up to the killing.
“In the past two weeks, the evidence has never been more clear,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards told the jury.
“She’s a liar, a manipulator, and now she’s gonna be held accountable for it.”
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She also reminded the jury of how Reagan was beaten in the head at least five times with such force that the blows compressed her skull into her brain.
“The pain Reagan must have felt when Taylor started cutting her abdomen, hip to hip … indescribable,” said Ms Richards.
“When Taylor had the baby and Reagan was still alive, that’s when Taylor started slashing and cutting. She can’t leave her alive. It was no quick death."
Parker is due to be sentenced on 12 October with prosecutors seeking the death penalty. However jurors may opt for a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.