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Week's Parker trial testimony focused on frame plot, baby's autopsy

by Lori Dunn | October 29, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Taylor Parker

NEW BOSTON, Texas -- Much of this week's testimony in the punishment phase of the Taylor Parker capital murder trail focused on Parker's plot to frame another inmate in the Bi-State jail. Jurors also heard testimony from the medical examiner who did Braxlynn Hancock's autopsy.

Parker was found guilty of capital murder Oct. 3 for killing Reagan Michelle Hancock, 21, and cutting her infant daughter, Braxlynn Sage Hancock, from the womb Oct. 9, 2020, in New Boston.

The prosecution is asking for the death penalty, while the defense is arguing for life in prison. Parker is represented by Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana and Mac Cobb of Mount Pleasant, Texas.

On Monday, several current and former Bi-State jail inmates testified that Parker attempted to frame another woman for her crimes.

Kleigh Bromsey testified she refused to help Parker and gave a letter from Parker to law enforcement instead.

"I couldn't just throw it away and walk away," she said. "I think my words were, 'She's playing chess, and she's using a lot of pawns,'" Bromsey said under questioning from First Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Kelley Crisp.

Lana Addison also testified Monday that "she (Parker) was playing all of us at the same game."

She testified that Parker told her a story of being set up by an inmate named Hannah, whose cell adjoined Parker's, for Hancock's murder.

The story involved Parker pulling over to check on a car with its lights flashing, and two women and a man drugging her and taking her to Hancock's house early Oct. 9, 2020. It also involved Parker owing money and Hancock being involved.

Hancock had been attacked and "felt her body dying," Addison said Parker told her. Addison said Parker told her that Hancock asked Parker to extract her unborn child.

Addison testified that Parker told her she "held the baby up to Reagan's face and said, 'Here's your baby girl.'"

Addison became emotional talking about how the case has affected her and her family. She spoke angrily at Parker from the witness stand.

"You lied to me, Taylor, the whole time," she said as she leaned over the witness stand to look directly at Parker at the defense table. "You got my kids involved."

On Tuesday, jurors heard that the letters that other inmates were supposed to deliver for Parker in 2021 included details of Reagan and Braxlynn Hancock's murders that only the killer would know.

The prosecution in Parker's trial claim Parker wrote the letters to set up another inmate. The letters claim an inmate named Hannah was part of a group of people associated with the Crips gang who killed Hancock and tried to kill Parker. Both letters were signed by someone named "Alexandria."

DPS Special Agent Brisco Davis read the letters to the jury Tuesday under questioning by Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Lauren Richards.

According to both letters, Parker did not inflict any cuts on Hancock except for helping with a cesarean section.

On Wednesday, jurors saw and heard a letter Parker wrote to Addison that gave her account of Hancock's murder.

In the letter, Parker wrote that Hancock begged her to help cut baby Braxlynn from her womb on the morning of the murder.

"She said 'I'm dying. She's dying. Get her out,'" Parker wrote in the letter. "I snatched that knife so fast and said no. I flung it across the room. I couldn't bear to do that. She was my friend not a steak."

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Andrew Venable read the eight-page letter to jurors.

"Reagan was only helping me. Reagan and I were like sisters. I did not kill her!" she wrote.

Parker wrote that when Hancock wanted her help taking the baby out, Parker remembered that a scalpel she had bought for her boyfriend Wade Griffin was in her car, the car the group who had kidnapped her had driven to Hancock's house.

"I took out the scalpel and put it to her stomach. I couldn't do it. She put her broken hand on mine and made the cut.

"She (Hancock) had pushed so hard the sack has started to come out. Then it burst. A foot was sticking out and I grabbed the baby," she wrote.

On Thursday, Dallas County Medical Examiner Stephen Hastings testified that Braxlynn, whom he described as an otherwise "perfectly healthy baby girl," died from a traumatic extraction from the uterus in association with maternal homicide caused by blunt force and sharp force trauma. The manner of death was homicide, Hastings said.

Braxlynn had developed normally, Hastings said, but the autopsy showed a hemorrhage beneath the scalp.

He described it as "a little bit of hemorrhage caused by some sort of trauma to the top and back of head."

Hastings testified the injury could be consistent with the mother having been hit or punched in the stomach while Braxlynn was still in the womb. Two broken fingernails identified as Hancock's were found in the placenta.

The discovery of the fingernails "would be consistent with the mother, at the time of the forceful extraction, being alive and holding on to the placenta, trying to protect herself from having her uterus and baby extracted," Hastings testified.

Testimony will continue Monday at the Bowie County Courthouse.

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