Prosecutors representing the state in a rare capital crime embarking on murder and kidnapping admitted facing a humongous task in ensuring the conviction of a 28-year old woman who allegedly cut the abdomen of a pregnant friend to be able to get the baby inside the latter’s womb.
The accused, Taylor Rene Parker, aka Taylor Morton Parker, is under indictment for two counts of capital murder and a count of kidnapping in the October deaths of Reagan Hancock, 21, and her daughter, Braxlynn Sage Hancock. Parker has pleaded not guilty to the charges and the state has announced that it is seeking the death penalty.
As the trial resumed, First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp urged the defense lawyers of Parker to provide advanced information of mental experts that they would be presenting as witnesses in court, citing existing Texas laws allowing prosecutors and defense lawyers access to the substance of expert testimonies three weeks ahead of the schedule.
The District Attorney underscored the need for them to have an idea as to who is testifying for the defense on matters surrounding Parker’s state of mental health, adding that the prescribed 20 days may not be enough for them to respond since the allegations against the defendant are unique.
Crisp is particularly concerned that fetal abduction for which Parker was charged with kidnapping is “extremely rare” and he has not heard of any similar incident for the duration of her law practice.
According to Crisp, there is very little chance for the defense attorneys of finding the right mental experts who could provide an explanation behind Parker’s behavior, even as she admitted that the defendant’s mental state or mental health is likely to be a factor.
However, Parker’s lead defense lawyer, Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana, seemed already satisfied with the traditional deadline.
Parker is said to struck Hancock on Oct. 9 morning at the home in New Boston where the latter resided with her husband and 3-year-old. A Texas state trooper pulled Parker over in De Kalb, Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, just after 9.30 a.m. Parker was reportedly performing CPR on the infant girl in her lap and the umbilical cord appeared to be coming from her pants.
An ambulance transported the accused and the baby to McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, where the baby was pronounced dead and doctors determined Parker had not given birth. The Texas trooper first made contact with Parker at 9.37 a.m. The same morning, Hancock’s mother discovered her daughter’s body.
Parker and Reagan Hancock were friends. The latter is said to have posted a sonogram photo on a social media site with an early November due date in the months before her murder.
The accused allegedly convinced her boyfriend she was pregnant and often put social media posts supporting her claim. The boyfriend reported that he expected to meet Parker at a hospital in Idabel at noon Oct. 9 for a planned, induced labor, and delivery.
In what appears to be an earnest remedy that would spare her from the death penalty, Parker has pleaded “not guilty” of charges accusing her of murdering a pregnant friend Reagan Hancock by cutting the latter’s abdomen wide open to be able to get the unborn baby named Braxlynn Sage Hancock on October 9.
Amid complexities in the cases, the state opted to strategize by taking on the murder charge first before the kidnapping case.
At the hearing, Parker, who has been in detention at the Bowie County since October 9, was seen quietly seated between members of her defense panel while 202nd District Judge John Tidwell tackled the pending motions at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston.
Present during the hearing were relatives of the victim.
The judge adjourned the hearing and told both the prosecutors and the defense lawyers to prepare for an oral argument in time for the next pre-trial in September.