Texas: Woman convicted of killing 21-year-old mother-to-be and cutting baby from her womb

Prosecutors told the court that Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock was beaten in the head at least five times with such force that the blows compressed her skull.

Image: Taylor Rene Parker

A woman is facing the death penalty after being found guilty of killing a 21-year-old and cutting her unborn baby from her womb.

Taylor Rene Parker has been convicted of the October 2020 murder of Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock in Texas and the kidnapping of her daughter, who later died.

The 29-year-old was found to have beaten the young expectant mother in the head at least five times, before “cutting her abdomen, hip to hip” to remove her baby.

The guilty verdict came after three weeks of testimony at Bowie County in northeast Texas, where Parker’s attorneys moved to dismiss the kidnapping charge in a bid to have a capital murder charge lowered to murder.

They argued that the baby was never alive and therefore could not be abducted, but prosecutors said several medical professionals testified that she had a heartbeat when she was born.

“We have methodically laid out what she (Parker) did, why she did it, all the moving parts, and all the collateral damage,” said prosecutor Kelley Crisp.

The court heard how Parker faked being pregnant in the lead up to the killing, with the assistant district attorney Lauren Richards describing her as a “liar” and a “manipulator”.

‘It was no quick death’

In gruesome detail, Ms Richards recounted Parker’s attack on Ms Simmons-Hancock, saying the young woman was still alive after having her baby cut from her womb.

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“She can’t leave her alive. It was no quick death. She just kept cutting her. I guess Reagan would not die fast enough for Taylor to get out of there and get on with her plans,” she said.

Parker’s sentencing, known in the US as the punishment phase, is set to begin on 12 October.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but jurors may opt for a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

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