A Texas woman convicted of murdering a pregnant woman she knew and kidnapping her unborn daughter has been sentenced to death, court records show.
A Bowie County jury last month found Taylor Rene Parker guilty of the fall of 2020 murder of Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock, 21, and her baby, after about an hour of deliberation. Parker was also convicted of kidnapping the baby who was cut from the victim’s womb and who later died, court records show.
Online show court records The jury handed down the death sentence on Wednesday.
Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty, although the jurors were tasked with delivering the verdict, with the alternative being life imprisonment without parole.
Simmons-Hancock’s body was found on October 9, 2020 at her home in New Boston, about 160 miles northeast of Dallas near the Texas-Oklahoma state line.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, that same month, Parker told her boyfriend she was pregnant, held a gender reveal party, and said she would go to an Oklahoma hospital to pre-register for induction.
That same day, police received a 911 call from a woman who reported that someone had killed her daughter, the affidavit shows. Responding officers found Simmons-Hancock, who was 34 weeks pregnant, with a large gash along her abdomen and the baby no longer in her womb.
The affidavit goes on to read, Texas State troopers performed a traffic stop of a car that day and found Parker with a baby on her lap and “the umbilical cord was connected to the child, which appeared to be coming out of the woman’s pants.” , as if she gave birth to the child,” the affidavit continues.
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“We are so grateful that justice was done today, not just for our family, our friends, the prosecution, our community,” said Jessica Brooks, the victim’s mother. told local news channel KSLA.
During the hearing, a photo of Hancock’s body at the crime scene was shown, the outlet KSLA reported. Prosecutors said they want to remember her as a mother who died fighting for her baby. Earlier in the process, Hancock’s fingernails were found in the placenta.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.