A Texan woman is facing the death penalty after murdering her pregnant friend and cutting the unborn baby from her womb in an attempt to steal it.
Taylor Rene Parker beat Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock, who was 34 weeks’ pregnant, about the head before slicing through her abdomen from “hip to hip”, a court in Bowie County heard.
Ms Simmons-Hancock (21) is believed to have still been alive after having the baby cut from her womb, the jury was told. She later died in a pool of blood in front of her three-year-old daughter.
The baby removed from Simmons-Hancock’s womb also later died.
“It was no quick death,” Lauren Richards, the assistant district attorney, said of the attack in October 2020.
“When Taylor had the baby and Reagan was still alive, that’s when Taylor started slashing and cutting. 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.
“The pain Reagan must have felt when Taylor started cutting her abdomen, hip to hip... indescribable.”
The court heard that mother-of-two Parker (29) could not conceive again after a hysterectomy. She obsessively researched how to fake a pregnancy and watched videos on delivering babies pre-term at 35 weeks.
Prosecutors alleged that she disguised herself to look pregnant, faked ultrasounds, posted about her “pregnancy” on social media and even had a gender reveal for her pretend baby in the months before the murder, as part of a plot not to lose her boyfriend.
On the day she attacked Ms Simmons-Hancock, she told the man that she was being induced, the prosecution said.
After abducting the baby, Parker fled the scene but was stopped by a Texas State Trooper for speeding.
Parker reportedly told the officer that she was driving to a hospital after she had the baby on the side of the road.
Parker and the baby were both rushed to McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Oklahoma, where hospital staff reportedly grew suspicious after she refused to be treated by the doctors.
The baby later died at the hospital.
Parker was described by Ms Richards as a “liar” and “manipulator” who would be held accountable.
The verdict of a jury of six men and six women came after three weeks of sometimes grisly testimony.
The defendant was also facing a kidnapping charge, which her legal team tried to dismiss in an effort to have a capital murder charge lowered to murder.
They claimed that the baby could not have been abducted as it was never alive.
Prosecutors said, however, that several medical professionals testified the infant had a heartbeat when born.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but jurors could vote for a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.