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Defense asks for new venue in Bowie County fetal abduction, murder case

by Lynn LaRowe | December 10, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
Taylor Rene Parker

NEW BOSTON, Texas -- A motion to change venue was filed Friday in Bowie County in the death penalty case of a woman accused of murdering a friend and taking her unborn child last year.

Taylor Rene Parker, 29, is accused of capital murder in the Oct. 9, 2020, death of Regan Hancock and her infant daughter.

Hancock, 21, was approximately eight months pregnant when she was attacked in the New Boston house she shared with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. Jury seletion in the case is scheduled to begin in summer and is expected to take weeks.

Parker appeared Friday morning for a pretrial hearing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Mount Pleasant, Texas, lawyer Mac Cobb filed a motion for change of venue at the hearing. Parker's lead defense attorney, Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana, was absent from Friday's hearing because his presence was required in another court.

The motion to change venue argues that Taylor can't get a fair trial in Bowie County or any adjacent county because of pretrial publicity in the media and "extensive private discussion of this case among individuals, personally and online."

The motion argues that the case has received so much attention that potential jurors in the region can't be impartial and have likely already decided Parker is guilty and deserving of the ultimate punishment.

Attached to the motion are three affidavits claiming that Parker cannot get a fair trial in Bowie County. One is signed by Parker and the other two are signed by individuals who reside in Bowie County.

Tidwell advised both sides to be ready to argue the motion at Parker's next pretrial hearing in February.

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said the state will "challenge and oppose" the defense's request to move the trial. Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards is part of the prosecution's team as well.

"We believe it can be tried here in Bowie County," Crisp said.

Crisp said the prosecution and defense have been moving forward with pretrial matters including the selection of items for testing by the crime lab and other procedural requirements in Texas death penalty cases.

Parker sat silently at the hearing, long hair shrouding her face. A group of Hancock's family filled seats in the audience.

Parker has been in custody since the day of Hancock's murder.

A Texas state trooper pulled Parker over in DeKalb, Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, just after 9:30 a.m. the morning of Oct. 9, 2020, according to a probable cause affidavit. Parker allegedly was performing CPR on the infant girl in her lap and the umbilical cord appeared to be coming from her pants.

An ambulance transported Parker and the baby to McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, where the baby was pronounced dead and doctors determined Parker had not given birth, according to records.

Approximately 10:20 a.m. the same morning, Hancock's mother discovered her daughter's body in the living room of her home.

Parker and Reagan Hancock were friends, according to records. Reagan Hancock had posted a sonogram photo on social media with an early November due date in the months before her death. The happy post included a name for the baby, Braxlynn Sage Hancock.

Parker allegedly convinced her boyfriend she was pregnant and often made social media posts supporting her claim. The boyfriend reported to police the couple held a gender reveal party in advance of Parker's fictitious Oct. 9 due date to celebrate the arrival of a baby that never truly existed. The boyfriend reported that he expected to meet Parker, then 27, at a hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, at noon Oct. 9 for a planned, induced labor and delivery.

Parker is scheduled to be tried in fall 2022 on a charge of capital murder involving Regan Hancock. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in late June, and opening statements are scheduled to begin in September.

Parker is also charged with capital murder in connection with the baby's death, as well as with kidnapping. Parker is currently being held in the Bowie County jail.

Print Headline: Defense asks for new venue in Bowie County fetal abduction, murder case

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