BOWIE COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Jail calls played in court Wednesday in the penalty phase of Taylor Parker’s capital murder trial in Bowie County revealed that Parker has continued to show no remorse and has not owned up to all of the lies and schemes she orchestrated in the months and weeks leading up to the murders of Reagan Hancock and her unborn baby, Braxlynn Sage.
The same jury that convicted Parker on October 3 is now hearing testimony and viewing evidence presented by prosecutors and Parker’s defense team as they make their respective cases on whether she should get the death penalty or life in prison.
In one of the jail calls played for the jury Wednesday, Parker was upset and crying to her mother because her ex-husband, Tommy Wacasey, would not let her talk to their young son from jail.
“Tommy wouldn’t let him talk to me. I was like, wow! But that was fine. I told him to tell him I loved him and I hope he had a good day –” Parker said, trailing off before sobbing as she told her mother that this upset her.
“If you’d been thinking about the children that you had on Earth, you might not be in the situation that you’re in,” Shona Prior tells her. “But what’s done is done, and you have to deal with the consequences as best you can. You’re not the only one dealing with ‘em, we’re all dealing with ‘em.”
Parker immediately changed the subject, asking her mother if she got her email about books she wanted her to send.
More than once during these jail calls, Prior reminded Parker that the calls are monitored and recorded. But Parker’s mother was not always doling out reality checks to her daughter during these calls.
In one call, Parker tells her mother about how she had formally complained about the lights staying on all night in her jail pod. It is the policy for safety and security so that jail staff can monitor inmates. Prior remarks that Parker has already been diagnosed with hemiplegic migraines and suggests she try to intentionally trigger one.
“If those lights trigger an episode, that jail is gonna have more problems,” Prior told her daughter. “Maybe, just maybe, you should just hold your eyes open as much as you can so it will trigger another episode. They’re not equipped to handle someone in the condition you used to be in.”
Hemiplegic migraine is a rare disorder in which affected individuals experience a migraine headache along with weakness on one side of the body. On Tuesday, the neurologist Parker saw in her efforts to create a paper trail for her stroke and paralysis claims testified that Parker did not suffer from this rare condition. Dr. Saud Khan said her symptoms suggested she more likely suffered from “complex migraine,” also known as “complicated migraine,” which causes symptoms that can include weakness, loss of vision, or difficulty speaking in addition to a headache and often mimic a stroke.
In other calls, Parker learned her ex-boyfriend Wade Griffin was starting to catch on to the scope of the lies and deception that went on during their relationship and leading up to the murders. Parker‘s mother told her that Griffin had told Parker‘s father he believed Parker set the fire under his cabin.
“According to Mark, Wade started figuring out stuff and talking to your dad,” Shona said in the call. “That’s one of the reasons I bought you the prepaid plan so you could –
“What do you mean, ‘Wade started figuring out stuff and talking to Dad?’” Parker interrupts.
“This is a recorded call, you don’t wanna say stuff,” Prior warned. “That is in the past, and there’s nothing we can do about that. I’m more concerned about going forward and pulling strings that we’re able to pull. I don’t care that – saying things that never happened, something about the things, that you set the fire.”
“What?!” Parker asks.
“According to Mark,” Prior said. “You can’t worry about that. It doesn’t matter, you’ve gotta clear your mind.”
A fire investigator testified during the first phase of the trial that the fire under Wade’s cabin early on the morning of Oct. 5, 2020, was intentionally set. It was the same day Parker was telling everyone she was set to be induced. It is also the same day the bomb threat was called in to Titus Regional Medical Center, where the alleged induction was supposed to take place. At that point, Parker was two weeks past her original fake due date.
Texas DPS Lt. Andrew Venable, who testified in the first phase of the trial about the complicated web of financial schemes Parker built to convince Griffin that she had millions coming to her in inheritance money, returned to the stand Wednesday to detail more plots Parker pulled off for various purposes.
Similar to the way Parker convinced Griffin and others that she had the funding to make millions of dollars in land deals, Venable says Parker faked another entire cast of characters to make Griffin believe he had permission to access and hunt on thousands of acres of prime hunting land in Titus County owned by Luminant.
Venable says Parker came up with this scheme to impress Wade.
“For someone like Wade, whose life revolves around hunting and hog hunting, that’s gonna be a big deal.”
Starting in November 2019, Parker used VOIP and voice-changing apps to pose as employees of the plant and others, telling Wade through these faked communications that he had permission to cut the locks on the property and hunt on it. As a result, Taylor and Wade did hunt on the property multiple times, along with Wade’s brother and Cody Ott.
The jury heard voicemails that Venable says are Parker using an app to change her voice to sound like two different men in separate calls.
Even after Parker’s arrest, Griffin apparently still believed he had access to the property and did not know that it was yet another one of her schemes. In a jail call to her father, Parker carried on the lie when he told her that Griffin had been asking about access to the property, although she hedged and said she did not know if they are still allowing it at that point.
In another jail call, jurors heard Parker vowing to flip on Griffin and turn over information about illegal hog trapping because she was upset about being blamed for hot checks. That is in spite of the fact that evidence shows he wrote those checks believing they had the money because of her lies and that she had created entire fake bank accounts to back her claims.
Among other things, Griffin wrote a $29,000 check for a brand-new Cam-Am side-by-side and another check for more than $21,000 for cows purchased at an auction.
In a January 7, 2021 jail call, Parker uses crude language in telling her mother she’s “not going to go down” for Griffin’s hot checks.
“I tell you what,” Parker said. “I’m fixin’ to have his hog license pulled…I’m fixin’ to **** him sideways.”
“Once again, she’s never like, ‘Hey I’m responsible for this,’” Crisp asks Venable on the stand.
“Not at all,” Venable said.
“Lying to her parents, continuing to scheme and not come clean. She is not setting the record straight,” Crisp concluded.
In another call, Parker also complained the district attorney was stacking the charges against her.
“They would charge me with **** on a fly right now if they could, basically that’s what it’s come down to. Just because you do one horrible thing, they literally just threw some bogus bull**** on me because they can, just because it makes them look better.”
“I understand what you’re saying,” Prior tells Parker. “But I don’t think you’re thinking about that like you should be thinking about that. When you see your attorney, you need to find out when they’re gonna be able to give a psych evaluation because something is not right here. “
Parker ignored this and changed the subject again, telling her mother she just found out the previous day that she is supposedly due for a bond reduction because she has been there for 90 days.
Parker’s bond was set at $5 million and was never reduced.
In other calls, Parker and her mother discussed how the county was garnishing her inmate account to pay her medical bills. They would later cook up a scheme to get around this by having her mother purchase commissary items for other inmates to give to her, giving the inmates a “cut” in the form of commissary items they wanted. This gave Parker more currency within the jail, according to Venable.
“There would be an appearance of power and control.”
Parker made clear in these calls that she has established a reputation in the jail for being able to get things done and that no one can mess with her.
“I’m done worrying about ruffling feathers. I’ve done enough that they’re not **** with me now,” Parker told her mother.
Parker also told her mother at one point that she was not going to continue taking her medicine because it cost too much. Her mother told her she needs to at least take her Eliquis, which is an anticoagulant medication used to treat and prevent blood clots and to prevent stroke. Parker agreed.
Venable also testified Wednesday about how Parker’s medical scheming is similar to the financial scheming in that she used a 14-day hospital stay in 2017 to lay the groundwork for future claims of having suffered everything from stroke to multiple sclerosis to a pulmonary embolism.
“This is going to be the bedrock incident. Like the oil money in the family, this is the baseline. There’s something chronic, neurological going on and she builds on that with different providers over time.”
In reality, doctors were never able to confirm a stroke or MS, and Venable said the relatively minor pulmonary embolism her medical records do reflect was greatly exaggerated and repeatedly referenced from then on. In addition to reams of evidence gathered from subpoenas and warrants for Parker’s cellphone, social media, and financial records, the Texas DPS investigator reviewed thousands of medical records from multiple providers and found evidence that the hospital records differ from the stories she told people about why she was in the hospital.
He says they also showed that Parker went to Titus Regional Medical Center emergency room in early February 2017, claiming she was having seizures. When they found no signs of seizures or any abnormalities, they discharged her. From there, records show Parker went straight to CHRISTUS St. Michael’s in Texarkana, but they wanted her medical records. Venable says she checked herself out against medical advice, telling a friend, “I can just rest at home and be in pain there.”
Jurors also saw evidence and heard testimony about the various versions of Parker’s stroke story. In one case, she indicated in pre-surgery forms she filled out for a tummy tuck that she suffered a stroke in 2015 as the result of viral meningitis.
In another version, the stroke was caused by Parker’s use of energy pills and drinks. Prosecutors showed the jury how Parker fed Wade Griffin that version of the story in June 2020 with a particularly melodramatic email made to look like it was from her mother’s alter ego, “Mandy Body,” who Parker claimed had it out for her and tried to kill her by letting her helpless daughter drown in the bathtub.
You are right this hate goes back farther than you. Let me just tell you how ungrateful Taylor is. In 2015 while she was working for the hospital an going to school for nursing I was helping pay for it along with my mother. I was helping keep the kids. The idiot mixes no damn sleep and energy pills and drinks and ends up having a stroke. Who put there life on hold to help her? Can you guess Wade yes ME! Her husband Tommy didn’t want to do anything for all we had been told she would never walk again. So Tommy decides to leave he doesn’t want that responsibility of course not. The ungrateful little **** tells me she doesn’t want me in her house. She can do it on her own. So you know what I did Wade. I made her a bath. Filled it up and put her in it. When she slipped under the water and couldn’t pull herself back up. I let her stay there. I told her to pull the stopper out and she couldn’t. So she laid under the water turning blue needing air and I watched. The ungrateful **** said she didn’t need me. I put my life on hold for her yet she needed me. I pulled her up once her eyes turned blood shot redand looked into her eyes and told her that day that she needed to kill herself because she would never walk again. She allowed those words to depress her. She allowed me to remind her every day shed never be able to take care of her kids or herself without me.email from “Mandy Body,” AKA “Fake Shona Prior written by Taylor Parker
The “Mandy Body” email goes on to claim Parker “somehow made her way into her room” and tried to use a gun to take her own life.
Luckily I had unloaded it. I told Tommy Taylor wasnt ok enough to keep both kids so he used that and took trey. I am the root for that. Before that stroke she was an amazing mother. Patient and loving. Then she changed after it. She was unpatient with the kids. She got irritated easy. I of course reminded her every day of what a s***y mother she was. I drugged her for days at a time on her medication. I made the family think she was suicidal but In all reality I turned her into that. I reminded her that no matter what no ok ne would love her again or want her. Every day for 8 months I made sure that ungrateful **** lived a life of hell that she deserved for what she said to me and did to me. You have no idea what I’m capable of Wade. None.email from “Mandy Body,” AKA “Fake Shona Prior written by Taylor Parker
Crisp said there was a lot going on in this email but noted that Parker was sure to include explanations for why Tommy left her and why she did not have custody of her son, among other things.
It was not long after that email that Parker told her boss at the Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana that she had suffered a pulmonary embolism, a small blood clot in her lower left lung. She took sick time to go to a clinic, reporting that she was having trouble breathing.
Parker had not been claiming any medical issues since she began dating Griffin until this point when the evidence shows her financial schemes were falling apart and things were not going well at work.
The claims of a blood clot evolved into a claim of COVID exposure and then to Rocky Mountain tick fever. Venable says she used each claimed illness as an excuse to extend her paid time off, all while posting selfies on social media, shopping, getting her nails done, doing chores and feeding the cows, and pleading with Griffin for sex.
Cell phone records show she was also texting Griffin about “Trevor the IT guy,” who she created in a scheme to get access to Griffin’s phone and block phone numbers from her real relatives so he would be less likely to find out what was really going on.
Meanwhile, Parker continued to tell everyone except her bosses and co-workers at Cooper Tire that she was pregnant and in early August began posting selfies with the fake baby bump she purchased online.
“Lot of balls in the air right now,” Venable said.
“Her whole life is like that,“ Crisp responded.
“It goes on all day, every day. It is a lot of work to keep up with all of it,” Venable said.
Parker went on to quit the job at Cooper Tire via text on Aug. 10, 2020, one day after interviewing at RPM Staffing in Mount Pleasant and accepting their job offer on the spot. Things did not go well at RPM, either, and that job lasted less than one month. According to Venable, Parker was telling RPM she had COVID and was going to get tested while she was driving to a job interview on Sept. 3, 2020, for a warranty agent position at Big Tex Trailers in Mount Pleasant.
Parker never worked a day at Big Tex. Prosecutors say she continued to take advantage of the chaos surrounding the COVID quarantine guidelines as they fluctuated during the pandemic and emailed the company on September 15 to tell them she was on quarantine and her start date would be delayed.
The next day, Griffin would receive an anonymous warning from Parker’s ex-husband Tommy Wacasey that Parker was faking her pregnancy and running out of time to come up with a baby. Prosecutors say Parker’s search for a victim intensified that day and did not let up until the day of the murders.