NEW BOSTON, Texas -- Connie Griffin testified through tears Tuesday that she tried to expose Taylor Parker's alleged lies and fraud to her son Wade but in the aftermath of Reagan Hancock's murder she wished she had tried harder.
"You know this isn't your fault?" Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked her.
"I know, but you always have doubts," Connie Griffin said as she cried softly. "I thought it would end with a miscarriage because I knew she wasn't pregnant."
Parker is charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty in the Oct. 9, 2020, killing of Reagan Simmons Hancock of New Boston and the taking of her unborn child, who also died. Parker has pleaded not guilty. She is represented by attorneys Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana and Mac Cobb of Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Judge John Tidwell is the presiding judge.
The jury was released early Monday due to a juror not feeling well. But the juror returned Tuesday morning.
Harrelson questioned Connie Griffin on Tuesday morning about why she did not confront Parker at the gender reveal or any other time before Oct. 9 if she believed she was not pregnant.
Crisp objected to Harrelson's line of questioning.
"Miss Griffin is not on trial," Crisp said. "Your family had no idea what would happen to Reagan Hancock, did you? Did your mind go to her going into a woman's house and slashing her baby out of her?" Crisp asked.
Connie Griffin replied that she did not.
Crisp explained to Connie Griffin and the jurors that this is the guilt and innocence phase of the trial and that the goal is to prove guilty or not guilty, not question what others should have done or not done.
Connie Griffin also testified Tuesday morning how she was estranged from her son for three months after confronting him about Parker's alleged lies.
Her younger son Tanner received a phone call on Christmas Eve 2019 from someone who warned him about Parker's lies and fraud.
Connie Griffin testified that she talked to Wade Griffin a couple of weeks later in January 2020 and Wade became upset. She testified that Parker texted her the next day about the rumors coming from her ex-husband Hunter Parker. She texted that Hunter Parker was angry at her because he did not get any of her money and described him as a "moocher."
"I paid for everything in that marriage," she said in a text to Connie Griffin.
Connie Griffin testified that after about three months, she tried to put her differences aside to have a relationship with her son.
She testified that Parker announced her pregnancy about a month after Tanner Griffin and his wife announced they were expecting a baby.
"It seemed like competition," she said.
Harrelson asked her if she meant competition between the two brothers.
Connie Griffin replied that she meant competition between Parker and Tanner Griffin's wife. Connie Griffin also testified she attended the gender reveal because she did not want to hurt her son's feelings.
She testified she did try to talk to Wade Griffin again on Oct. 6 when he and Parker came to Connie Griffin's house to take showers. The day before, a fire at Wade Griffin and Parker's home had damaged their pipes and they had no water. Connie Griffin testified she tried to speak to Wade about Parker not being pregnant while Parker was in the shower. She testified Wade became angry and the couple left as soon as Parker was finished with her shower.
Connie Griffin also testified that Wade Griffin did not know much about pregnancy and how it progressed. She said that Wade had questioned her about whether Parker's previous tummy tuck would affect her size.
"I told him a tummy tuck would not keep that baby from growing," she said.
Harrelson questioned Connie Griffin about Wade Griffin being a farmer and having knowledge of birth from his cows and pigs.
After Tuesday's lunch break and before the jury was seated, Crisp approached Tidwell to say the defense attorneys were trying to use the alternative perpetrator theory in their line of questioning.
She said Wade Griffin had been blamed after Harrelson questioned Connie Griffin about Wade Griffin's knowledge of delivering cows and pigs.
"The implication is he knows how to deliver babies and knows what he is doing. I think it's hanging out there that they are trying to blame Wade," Crisp told Tidwell.
Harrelson denied the accusation.
"We have not tried to blame anyone for anything. We don't feel like we have done anything improper," he said.
Rick Jones, a fire investigator from Sanger, Texas, also testified Tuesday that he investigated the fire at Wade Griffin's home.
Neither Wade Griffin nor Parker was home, and Jones called Wade Griffin to find the house key. Jones was questioned by Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Lauren Richards.
Jones testified that he found fire damage under the home and a cigarette lighter on the left side of the house.
Jones testified the fire was started by an external source.
"It was an intentional fire," he testified.
"And that is sometimes called arson?" Richards asked.
"That would fit the crime of arson," Jones said.
Jones said his job was not to determine who set the fire.
Travis Nichols of the Mount Pleasant Police Department also testified Tuesday that on Oct. 5, 2020, he was assigned to investigate a bomb threat at Titus County Medical Center that resulted in an evacuation of the hospital. The call was reported at 5:02 a.m.
Nichols testified that a database used by investigators resulted in the number the call came from being linked to the email address [email protected]
Amy Miller, a receptionist at Paris OBGYN in Paris, Texas, testified that Parker visited the clinic on Sept. 30, 2020, as a new patient.
Miller testified Parker was crying in the waiting room while she was filling out paperwork.
"I asked her what was wrong, and she said her husband had passed away," Miller testified.
She listed her husband as Wade Griffin, 34, and that his career had been in the military, Miller said.
"I said, 'I'm sorry. Did your husband pass away in the military?' And she said yes," Miller said.
Miller testified that when she returned from lunch, Parker was sitting outside the back entrance on a bench that overlooked a parking lot. She described it as "odd" Parker was sitting there.
Rachel Anderson, a registered nurse at Paris OBGYN, testified the clinic was busy that day.
"Would she have been in the waiting room with other pregnant women?" Crisp asked.
Anderson testified that was correct. Crisp also questioned her about a specific patient named Crystal Thompson who was a patient at that time. Anderson confirmed she was.
Anderson also testified Parker became increasingly upset when she was called back for the appointment and wanted to reschedule because her mother could not be there that day.
"At that particular moment I felt sorry for her. We were trying to console her ... and offered to do a sonogram, but she wanted to wait," she said.
Anderson testified that no one had ever turned down a sonogram in the six years she has worked at the clinic.
Testimony continues at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Bowie County Courthouse.
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