‘Evil piece of flesh demon:’ Woman sentenced to death for killing pregnant friend to steal unborn baby
Taylor Rene Parker, a 29-year-old mother who can no longer have children due to a hysterectomy, was sentenced to death by a jury in New Boston, Texas, Wednesday for the 2020 murder of her heavily pregnant friend, Reagan Simmons-Hancock, 21, whose baby she attempted to pass off as her own after harvesting the infant from her friend’s womb with a scalpel during the attack.
The infant, named Braxlynn Sage Hancock, did not survive the attack, which occurred in front of her 3-year-old sister Daily Mail reported.
Hancock’s family members, including her mother who called Parker an “evil piece of flesh demon” in court remarks on Wednesday, wept in relief after the jury, who were presented with grisly details from the case and dueling arguments about what biblical justice should look like for Parker, decided that justice would be best served with her death.
"If she (Parker) is capable of that level of violence, she is a future danger. She needs to be on death row. She slashed her (Hancock) hundreds of times. She beat her with a hammer. You are going to say she's not violent? She ripped her uterus out by the back. Look at what she did," First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp told the jury, according to a Texarkana Gazette report, before reading Proverbs 6:16-19.
"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."
"That's her," Crisp told the jury. "The circumstances in which Reagan died are horrible and there is no doubt it was torture. But a mother died fighting for her child. That's how she left the world. A woman who died fighting."
According to the Daily Mail, Parker, who has two children, wanted to give her boyfriend another child but could not do so naturally because she had undergone a hysterectomy. She then decided that she would fake a pregnancy for her boyfriend.
While faking the pregnancy she searched for a pregnant victim whose baby she planned to take and settled on Hancock, who she befriended to complete her scheme. Hancock was 34 weeks pregnant when she was attacked.
A probable cause affidavit cited by Law &Crime said the investigation unfolded after Hancock’s mother, Jessica Brooks, went to her daughter’s home on Oct. 9, 2020, and found her dead.
Brooks called 911 at 10:18 a.m. and security officials, including the Texas Rangers, converged on the scene.
“[O]fficers entered the home and found a white female, on the ground, in the living room of the house face down with a large abundance of what appeared to be blood throughout the house,” the affidavit notes. “A large amount of what appeared to be blood was located on the floor, furniture, walls, appliances, and other items in the home.”
Officials also noticed that Hancock’s abdomen had been sliced from hip to hip but no baby was present. Investigators said Hancock had more than 100 stab wounds, with at least 39 on her head Law & Crime said. Her skull was also fractured in five different places, due to beatings that appeared to be from the blunt and clawed end of a hammer. A scalpel was also lodged in her neck among other wounds.
Parker later tried to pass off Hancock’s child as her own at Oklahoma hospital and nurses determined the child was not her own.
Emily Simmons, Reagan Hancock's younger sister, told Parker in a statement in court that she had taken a lot from her, the Texarkana Gazette said.
“My only biological sister. You need to understand what you took from me and my family. No more celebrating her birthday. I was barely 19 when I got the call my sister was gone," a crying Simmons, who is set to be married soon, said. "She will never be my maid of honor. If I visit my sister I have to go to a graveyard and see a headstone. I will never get a text or phone call from her again."
Jessica Brooks did not hold back her feelings when she called Parker an "evil piece of flesh demon” in her remarks.
"I know you think this is all about you. But it's about Reagan and Braxlynn,” she said. "She (Hancock) was one of the very few people on this Earth who cared about you. Now who cares about you? My baby was alive still fighting for her babies when you tore her open and ripped her baby from her stomach."
Jeff Harrelson, Parker’s attorney, asked the jury to remember that his client is also a “human” as well as a "woman, daughter, sister and mother."
He also invoked Jesus in his appeal for mercy.
"Jesus cared for the least and the lost," he said. "What are we doing here? We're not putting down old Yeller 'cause he got rabies. We're dealing with a human, a mother."
Crisp, however, rebutted his plea.
"She told her children she was having their baby sister. They dragged a cow around with a pink bow on it. If you do that, you forfeited the title of mother,” Crisp said. “She's not fit to call herself mother."