Capital murder case begins Monday; defendant Taylor Parker could receive death penalty

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

NEW BOSTON, Texas --The capital murder trial of Taylor Renee Parker begins Monday in the 202nd District Court at the Bowie County Courthouse.

Several weeks of testimony are expected in the case, which is the first capital murder trial in Bowie County since 2017. Judge John Tidwell will preside. Parker could face the death penalty for allegedly murdering expectant mother Reagan Simmons Hancock of New Boston and taking her unborn child on Oct. 9, 2020. The baby died en route to the hospital in Idabel, Okla.

A jury of six men and six women and two alternates was selected in August after more than 500 people qualified as jurors in the case.

On Monday morning, the indictment against Parker will be read for the jury, and Parker will plead either guilty or not guilty at that time. She pleaded not guilty at a January 2021 arraignment.

At that time, Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle told the court his office would seek the death penalty for Parker in Hancock's death, citing the horror and brutality of the crime, the alleged months of premeditation and planning, as well as an alleged lack of remorse by Parker. Rochelle said the decision was made after careful deliberation among district attorney staff and the surviving family of Hancock and her baby girl.

A plea offer has never been made to Parker in previous public hearings.

Parker is being represented by attorneys Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana and Mac Cobb of Mount Pleasant, Texas.

Parker's alleged involvement in Hancock's death came to light when a Texas state trooper stopped Parker's vehicle 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. The infant's umbilical cord appeared to be coming from Parker's pants.

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

Approximately 10:20 a.m. the same morning, Hancock's mother discovered her daughter's body in the living room of the home Hancock shared with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in New Boston.

Parker and Reagan Hancock were friends, according to records. Hancock was nearing her due date, and she and her husband had already chosen a name, 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 nonexistent baby that never truly existed. The boyfriend reported that he expected to meet Parker, then 27, at noon Oct. 9 at a hospital in Idabel for a planned, induced labor and delivery.

Parker is also facing kidnapping charges involving the baby and may be tried on those charges later. She is being held without bail in the Bowie County jail.

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