State will seek death penalty for woman accused of murdering mom, stealing unborn baby

Parker appears in court January 22, 2021

Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle announced Friday at a hearing in New Boston that his office will seek the death penalty for Taylor Rene Parker in the death of Reagan Simmons Hancock.

Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson entered pleas of not guilty on Parker’s behalf to capital murder and kidnapping. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked 202nd District Judge John Tidwell to revoke Taylor’s current $5 million in bail due to the charges and possible death sentence.

Harrelson said it is unlikely Parker can make the $5 million bond but objected to her having no bond set at all. Tidwell scheduled a hearing for March 5.

Crisp said she expects to ask a Bowie County grand jury to indict Parker for murder in the death of Baby Hancock in February. Crisp said those charges were not presented to the grand jury that indicted Parker for capital murder and kidnapping in December because a report from the medical examiner had not been received at that time.

Rochelle said his office decided to seek the death penalty after “deliberations” with his staff and the victim’s family. Rochelle called the crime “horrific” and said Parker planned the murder for months.

Parker is accused of attacking 21-year-old Reagan Hancock at her home in New Boston on the morning of Oct. 9. Parker was stopped by a Texas state trooper near DeKalb, Texas, at 9:37 a.m., according to a probable cause affidavit.

Parker was allegedly attempting to perform CPR on the infant in her lap and allegedly claimed she gave birth to the baby on the side of the road. Parker and the infant were transported by ambulance to a hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma. The baby was pronounced dead and doctors there determined Parker had not given birth.

Parker was arrested in Oklahoma after Hancock’s mother discovered her body and paramedics determined the baby had been cut from the mother’s body.

Parker had allegedly been faking a pregnancy and was a friend of Hancock’s. Parker’s boyfriend told investigators he and Parker had a gender reveal party and that he believed she was pregnant with his child. The boyfriend said he expected to meet Parker at the Idabel hospital that day at “about lunch time” for an induced delivery.

Parker allegedly confessed to the phony pregnancy and admitted to using a small scalpel to remove the unborn infant from Hancock’s body. The scalpel was found lodged in Hancock’s neck during an autopsy performed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.

Capital murder is punishable by death or life without parole.

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