State Rests In Sentencing Phase Of Taylor Parker Trial

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NEW BOSTON, Texas–The state rested its case on Monday in the punishment phase of trial for a woman who has been found guilty of capital murder in the 2020 death of an expectant mother whose unborn child was cut from her womb.

Taylor Rene Parker, 29, also known as Taylor Morton and Taylor Waycasey, was found guilty of capital murder by the jury earlier this month. She faces a sentence of death or life without the possibility of parole in the Oct. 9, 2020, death of Reagan Simmons Hancock. The 21-year-old was pregnant with her second daughter, Braxlynn Sage Hancock, and nearing her due date when Parker attacked her with a hammer in the home she shared with her husband and 3-year-old in New Boston.

Parker faked a pregnancy for months and had convinced her boyfriend that they were expecting a baby girl which they celebrated with a gender reveal party. Parker had a hysterectomy in 2015 and could not have children beyond the two she had given birth to in previous relationships. Parker used phony email accounts, burner phones and voice altering software to convince her boyfriend that she was carrying his child and that members of her own family were out to get her because of financial disputes.

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The defense began calling witnesses after the state rested on Monday, however, some of the expert witnesses the defense intends to call will not be available to testify until next week, according to court officials.

Once the defense rests, the state will have the opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses. Once both sides have closed, the jury will hear instructions from 202nd District Judge John Tidwell on the law they must follow and closing arguments from the state and defense regarding whether Parker should be sentenced to death or be punished with life in prison with no opportunity for parole.

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards are prosecuting. Parker is represented by Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana and Mac Cobb of Mount Pleasant and 202nd District Judge John Tidwell is presiding.

The case is expected to continue at least through next week.

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