A Texas woman has been convicted of capitol murder for slicing open the stomach of an expecting mother in a bid to steal the newborn straight from her womb.
After weeks of gruesome testimony, jurors needed to deliberate for only an hour on Monday before finding Taylor Parker guilty for the murder of Reagan Simmons-Hancock and the kidnapping of her baby girl, who ultimately did not survive being ripped from her mother's body.
On Oct. 9, 2020, Parker crept into Simmons-Hancock's home in New Boston and attacked her with a scalpel. Authorities said Parker sliced Simmons-Hancock, who was about 34 weeks pregnant at the time, from hip to hip and then pulled out her uterus. During the trial, officers said the crime scene, left drenched in blood, was one of the worst they had ever seen.
Simmons-Hancock suffered more than 100 stab wounds, including at least 39 to her scalp, KTLA reported. Her skull was also fractured in several places, likely the result of being attacked with a claw hammer, Dallas County Medical Examiner Dr. Melinda Flores testified. The victim was also brutally beat with a four-pound jar of pink and blue sand from her wedding.
Parker was later pulled over by state troopers, the newborn infant still on her lap at the time. She claimed to authorities that the child was her own and that she'd given birth on the side of the road, according to CBS DFW. She taken to a hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead.
Parker's attorneys tried to argue that the baby was never alive and sought to dismiss a kidnapping charge, which would have lowered the count of capital murder to murder. But prosecutors argued the child had a heartbeat when it was born, citing testimony from several medical professionals. They also recounted how Parker duped those around her, including her boyfriend, into thinking she was pregnant in the months leading up to the murder.
On the day of the killing, investigators said she watched a video on the physical exam of an infant delivered pre-term at 35 weeks.
"She's a liar, a manipulator, and now she's gonna be held accountable for it," prosecutor Lauren Richards told the court.
Parker is slated to be sentenced October 12.