NEW BOSTON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Taylor Rene Parker, 29, is now on Death Row following her conviction and sentencing for the capital murder of 21-year-old Reagan Hancock, and the kidnapping of her unborn child, Braxlynn Sage, in Bowie County in October 2020.

Parker was convicted by a Bowie County jury after 13 days of testimony and sentenced to death after another 13 days of testimony in the penalty phase. Prosecutors sought the death penalty due to the heinous and pre-meditated nature of the crime and because Parker showed no remorse. 

More than 140 witnesses took the stand over 26 days of testimony, some taking the stand more than once. It took nearly two months from opening statements on Sept. 12 to Parker’s sentencing on Nov. 9 because the trial unfolded over four-day weeks with Fridays off, in part due to the difficult nature of the case and its complexity. The shorter weeks gave the jury a longer break each week and allowed each side more time to prepare for the week ahead in the largest and longest capital murder cases Bowie County has ever seen.

“This is the longest jury trial I’m aware of, we’ve had in this county, this is the most witnesses, It’s certainly the most consecutive days in trial,” First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said after the trial ended. “Nobody in so far as I know, in the kind of the small criminal justice system that Bowie County has, has ever seen anything like this.”

The total cost of the trial to Bowie County taxpayers is still being tallied, but a typical capital case costs about $1 million to prosecute.

The investigation of the case involved 41 different law enforcement officers from 11 agencies in 3 states, 77 lay witnesses with audio or video interviews, plus other witnesses who provided witness statements but whose statements were not recorded. The state entered more than 1,000 exhibits into evidence, including hundreds of documents, reams of social media and cell phone data, audio, and video files, letters, medical records, and a fake silicone belly similar to the one Parker purchased online to fake her pregnancy.

The following is a summary of testimony on each day of the trial, with links to the full stories, starting with Day 1, when the State and Parker’s defense team gave their opening statements.

Week 1

Taylor Parker Trial Day 1: Opening statements, testimony begins

Prosecutors told the jury that Parker pretended to be pregnant and schemed to find a baby to claim as her own, not because she wanted one but because she was desperate to keep her then-boyfriend. The mother of two was unable to bear any more children of her own after having her tubes tied and a partial hysterectomy long before she met Wade Griffin.

Parker’s defense attorney spoke briefly, imploring the jury to listen carefully and follow the law.

During the first day of testimony, prosecutors brought several witnesses to the stand, including the OBGYN who performed Parker’s tubal ligation and partial hysterectomy in 2014, who established that Parker was unable to become pregnant and bear children. The jury also heard from her former best friends, former co-workers, and her ex-husband about lies they said only grew bigger when she was called out on them.

Testimony on the first day of the trial wrapped up with a Texas DPS special investigator who obtained Taylor Parker’s Facebook data, which showed her connection to the victim on the social media site and messages they exchanged. 

State’s witnesses:

  • Dr. Christopher Mason, Parker’s former OBGYN at Northeast Texas Women’s Center 
  • McKenzie Bright, Parker’s former friend
  • Abby Bell, Parker’s former friend
  • Hunter Parker, Parker’s ex-husband 
  • Lindsey Brown, Parker’s former co-worker at Express 
  • Micayla Curtis, Parker’s former supervisor at Express 
  • TDPS Special Agent Dustin Estes: investigated Parker’s social posts, bank, phone records

Taylor Parker Trial Day 2: Mountain of evidence reveals extensive lengths to fake pregnancy

Testimony on the second day of the trial detailed a mountain of evidence showing just how far Taylor Parker was allegedly willing to go to fake her pregnancy and come up with a baby in time for her purported due date.

Texas Department of Public Safety Special Agent Dustin Estes returned to the stand, continuing his testimony for Monday afternoon, diving into Parker’s social media posts and interactions, Google searches, and YouTube views.

Jurors also heard from Texas Rangers Lt. Jared Brown, the digital forensics expert who analyzed data in the case. He testified that, in addition to trying to contact Reagan two days before the murder, Parker used VOIP apps to fake conversations with her grandmother and her aunt, which she would then screenshot and send to her boyfriend to back up her deceptions. She would then delete the conversations from her phone in an apparent attempt to hide the evidence.

State’s witnesses:

  • TDPS Special Agent Dustin Estes (continued from Day 1)
  • Jared Brown, staff Lt. over digital forensics program at Texas Rangers
  • Sgt. Cody Slaughter, former county DA investigator who assisted in extraction of cell phone data

Taylor Parker Trial Day 3: Audacious tales, schemes dominate

On day three of the trial, prosecutors continued to build their case against Parker with testimony and evidence showing she was not only capable of running a big con but bold about it. On the stand, the real estate agent detailed his involvement in the $20 million real estate deal Parker attempted to pull off despite only having an office job and how he saw red flags but continued to try to verify she had the funds.

Jurors saw evidence showing how Parker posed as bank and oil company account managers, fabricated wire transfers, and had fake checks printed for millions of dollars. Jurors also heard from Angela Pate, who became friends with Parker and was married to her boyfriend’s boss at the roofing company where he worked. Pate testified about how she got to know Parker and about the bizarre events that followed, including a convoluted murder-for-hire plot that had her and her husband in fear for their own safety. She also testified about how Parker seemed far more invested in her relationship with Wade Griffin than he was.

State’s witnesses:

  • Rusty Lowe, real estate agent 
  • Deanna Parker, Taylor Parker’s former mother-in-law
  • Angela Pate, chiropractor and former Parker friend
  • Bobby Jordan, Texarkana Arkansas Police Chief 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 4: Prosecution reminds jury Parker is not insane

On day four, the prosecution made a point to remind the jury that the woman accused of killing Reagan Hancock and cutting her unborn baby from her womb was found competent to stand trial. This came after Parker’s defense attorney, Jeff Harrelson, asked Parker’s ex-husband, Tommy Waycasey, whether she ever had a mental evaluation. 

By this point in the trial, Parker’s defense team had not denied even the most outrageous of the lies and schemes detailed in testimony. Instead, they questioned how anyone believed them. The defense also questioned why no one contacted law enforcement if they suspected Parker was faking her pregnancy. 

Wacasey testified about the decision he had to make to go ahead with a partial hysterectomy when his then-wife was on the operating table for surgery on an ovarian cyst. He talked about how upset she was when she woke up and found out about it.

Wacasey also testified that he sent an anonymous text to warn Wade Griffin in January 2020 after learning she was claiming to be pregnant. He didn’t want Parker to know it was him because it would have made his life difficult.

Jurors also heard from Texas DPS Lt. Andrew Venable, who followed leads and evidence uncovered by search warrants on Parker’s devices and financial records. Venable testified that the seemingly incredible fabrications detailed in previous testimony, including a bogus $20 million real estate deal and a supposed murder-for-hire plot arranged by Parker’s mother, did not even begin to scratch the surface of the schemes Parker had orchestrated.

State’s witnesses

  • Curtis Cole, BCSO investigator who took Taylor’s harassment complaint about Fake Shonna 
  • Alex “Tommy” Wacasey, Parker’s ex-husband 
  • Texas DPS Lt. Andrew Venable 
  • Melissa Mason, administrator of Northeast Texas Women’s Health administrator, where Parker was a patient and later a receptionist   

Week 2

Taylor Parker Trial Day 5: Boyfriend’s mother: There were “red flags”

On Day 5 of the Taylor Parker trial, jurors heard from Wade Griffin’s former co-worker and close friend, who also says he tried to tell Wade something wasn’t right about Taylor’s pregnancy. Cody Ott and his wife hosted the couple’s gender reveal, despite their reservations.

A former co-worker at the Northeast Texas Women’s Health Clinic in Mount Pleasant, where Parker had previously been a patient, also took the stand and testified about the day Parker came into the clinic looking for a copy of her medical records and claiming she had a mass in her abdomen that had a heartbeat. She said her doctor wanted to do a biopsy to determine whether it was viable.

Suzie Ramirez said she knew that was impossible but did not question it. She said the clinic staff knew Parker had a hysterectomy and could not be pregnant, but they could not call her out because of patient privacy laws. Instead, the clinic warned the hospital. Still, Ramirez says she and others at the clinic thought it was more likely to end the way they had seen other fake pregnancies end: with a fake miscarriage.

Wade Griffin‘s mother also testified on the fifth day of the trial, telling the jury that there were red flags early on in the relationship between her son and Taylor Parker and that she tried to talk to her son about the possibility that Taylor might not be pregnant. She said he did not want to listen.

Connie Griffin testified about the couple’s relationship and the big spending the couple was doing in anticipation of millions of dollars coming in from family oil and gas money, only for the checks to bounce. Among other things, Parker “bought” Griffin a car as a surprise, only for the car to be repossessed after the check turned out to be hot. She also testified about getting caught up in Parker’s lies to her son about paying bills.

State’s witnesses:

  • Cody Ott, former co-worker and friend of Wade Griffin 
  • Suzie Ramirez, worked at the Northeast Texas Women’s Health Clinic with Taylor Parker
  • Kelly Mae May, photographer who shot Parker’s maternity photos
  • Connie Griffin, Wade Griffin’s mother 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 6: ‘I knew she wasn’t pregnant:’ Tearful testimony from boyfriend’s mother

Connie Griffin continued her testimony on the sixth day of the trial, growing tearful as she testified about how she doesn’t know what more she could have done about her suspicions that Parker was faking her pregnancy. She said she even considered hiring a private investigator to bring evidence to Wade but ultimately decided to back off and preserve her relationship with her son. But she says she did confront Wade once more in the week leading up to the murders and all but directly accused Taylor of faking the pregnancy.

Jurors also heard from the Mount Pleasant Police Department investigator who connected Parker to the bomb threat and a forensic fire investigator who determined the fire under Wade‘s house had been intentionally set.

Also taking a stand were employees of an OB/GYN clinic in Paris, Texas, more than an hour away from where Parker lived in Simms. The clinic employees testified about the day on Sept. 30, 2020, when Parker came in for a new patient appointment and broke down in the lobby, claiming her mother couldn’t make it and that her husband had died in the military.

Later, the clinic employees say they saw Parker still outside the back entrance to the clinic. Prosecutors say she was looking for pregnant women to target.

Jurors also heard from two former employers, both of whom described thinking they’d hit the jackpot with her hire, only to later find that her performance did not live up to expectations.

State’s witnesses:

  • Connie Griffin, Wade Griffin’s mother (continuing testimony from Day 5)
  • Blake Aubrey, HR manager at Cooper Tire in Texarkana  
  • Amanda Gray, RPM Staffing Professionals 
  • Ricky Steven Jones, fire forensics expert 
  • Travis Nichols, Mount Pleasant Police Department  
  • Tiffany Annis of Avery in Red River Co. 
  • Amy Miller, receptionist at Paris, Texas OBGYN clinic where Parker stalked potential victims
  • Rachel Anderson, RN at Paris, Texas OBGYN clinic where Parker stalked potential victims

Taylor Parker Trial Day 7; Jury hears frantic 911 calls, victim’s husband testifies

Frantic 911 calls from both Taylor Parker and Jessica Brookes from the morning Reagan Hancock was brutally murdered were played in court on the seventh day of the trial, following a series of witness testimony placing Parker at a gas station less than two miles from the crime scene just before Reagan Hancock was killed.

Jurors also watched police bodycam and dashcam video from the traffic stop where Parker was pulled over on the morning of the murder with the baby prosecutors say she cut from Reagan’s womb lifeless in her lap.

In all, 11 people took the stand on the seventh day of the trial, including paramedics and an employee of the nearby middle school who stopped to help give the baby CPR after Parker was pulled over. She testified to helping Parker wipe the blood from her face and feet.

Neighbors also testified about what they saw on the morning of the murder, helping establish the timeline that prosecutors presented to the jury. One neighbor’s mother went so far as to go into the garage and knock on the door, which was not fully latched and opened slightly as a result. She closed the door quickly, unaware of the horrific scene inside.

Homer Hancock was the last to take the stand on the seventh day of the trial, choking up at times as he recounted his life with Reagan, how excited they were about her pregnancy with Braxlynn Sage, and his desperate attempts to get in touch with his wife on the morning of her murder before learned she had been brutally murdered.

State’s witnesses:

  • Trista Griffin, store manager at EZ Mart in New Boston
  • Eric Estess, Texas DPS Special Agent 
  • Justin Drago, New Boston ISD Director of Technology 
  • Patricia Bradford, Reagan and Homer Hancock’s neighbor
  • Brittany Thompson (Wyrick) 
  • Katie Jiminez, New Boston PD 911 dispatcher 
  • Jennifer Courtney Kirkland – Bowie dispatcher 
  • Scott Robinson, owner of Side By Side Ranch in Wynnewood, Okla. 
  • TX DPS Tpr. Leonzel Shavers. trooper that pulled Parker over in De Kalb
  • Amanda Pirkey of Avery, Texas 
  • Homer Hancock, Reagan’s husband

Taylor Parker Trial Day 8: Mother recounts finding Reagan Hancock’s body

Reagan Hancock‘s mother took the stand on the eighth day of the trial. Over 30 minutes of heartwrenching testimony, Jessica Brookes spoke tenderly of her daughter as she talked about how close they were and how they talked every day, and how she discovered the grisly scene on the morning of her daughter’s murder.

Reagan’s stepfather also testified, along with his best friend, who helped the devastated couple find their frightened granddaughter hiding in her bedroom and carried the child out with a blanket over her head to keep from seeing anything else.

Jurors also heard testimony from the paramedics who attended to Reagan’s baby and to Taylor Parker after she was pulled over in De Kalb less than an hour before Reagan’s body was found.

Jurors viewed photos from the crime scene and heard from the paramedics and investigators about how they put the pieces together to connect the horrific scene on Austin Street in New Boston with Taylor Parker’s supposed roadside birth. They also heard from the ER nurse who tried to assess Parker at the hospital, believing she had just given birth.

State’s witnesses:

  • Elton Crosswood, LifeNet Paramedic
  • Kelly Gerald, LifeNet EMS Paramedic
  • Jessica Brookes, Reagan’s mother 
  • Marcus Brookes, Reagan’s father 
  • Chris Hughes, Marcus Brookes’s best friend 
  • Chad Ford, De Kalb ISD Police Chief, and Bowie County Constable. BCSO investigator
  • Jarrod Nall, LifeNet EMS Paramedic
  • Det. Mark Waters, New Boston Police Department  
  • Sarah Black, McCurtain County Memorial Hospital ER nurse 
  • Carissa Bryan, LVN at McCurtain County Memorial 
  • Brooke McGee, McCurtain County Memorial Dir. Of Admissions  

Week 3

Taylor Parker Trial Day 9: Jury views photos of Parker’s bloody fingernails, bruises

On day nine of the trial, jurors viewed detailed photographs of Parker‘s bruised body and bloodied hands following her arrest and heard testimony from an expert in call detail records and geolocation analysis who said Parker’s travels and search activity intensified in the three weeks leading up to the murders in what prosecutors say shows a clear pattern of planning and intent, specifically after Wade got that anonymous warning that hospitals were on alert that Parker might try to take a baby.

Crime scene expert Det. Kevin Burkleo said he believes Parker did a “trial run” the day before the murders. He also testified that both Parker’s primary phone and her burner phone moved away from the scene of the crime on Austin Street around 9:14 a.m., along with Reagan’s phone. That phone has never been recovered.

The jury also heard from the nurses and doctors at McCurtain County Memorial Hospital, who determined that Parker had not just given birth, and EMS and emergency room personnel continued their efforts to save baby Braxlynn’s life. 

State’s witnesses:

  • Lorie Gibson, McCurtain County Memorial Hospital nurse 
  • Dr. William Herron, OB who confirmed Parker had not given birth, called code on baby Braxlynn
  • Jamie MIlls, Idabel PD officer who took Parker into custody at hospital and booked her into jail.  
  • Det. Anthony Aho, Idabel PD; handed off evidence to NBPD on Oct. 11 
  • Kevin Burkleo, Detective in Major Crimes Unit in Irving, TX 
  • Rusty Hill, NBPD, picked up evidence from Idabel PD 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 10: Timeline emerges in capital murder, fetal abduction trial

On the tenth day of the trial, an expert in crime scene reconstruction testified that what he saw at the scene of Hancock’s murder indicates she was beaten and stabbed in four or five areas of the home before she bled out on the living room floor.

Texarkana Texas Police Department crime scene investigator Marc Sillivan walked the jury through photos from the crime scene, testifying that Hancock’s death was not quick and that she fought hard for her life. Jurors also heard from the medical examiner who conducted Reagan Hancock’s autopsy, who detailed the extensive cuts, scrapes, bruises, and blunt force trauma Hancock suffered in the attack.

State’s witnesses:

  • Marc Sillivan, TTPD Crime Scene Investigator, expert in crime scene reconstruction 
  • Spencer Price, Texarkana Texas Police TPD CSI 
  • Dr. Melinda Flores, Dallas County Medical Examiner   
  • Stacey McNeal, Texas Ranger with TX DPS 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 11: Jury watches Taylor Parker interrogation videos

Jurors heard for the first time from Taylor Parker herself as they watched videos of Parker’s interviews with police. In those interviews, Parker claimed Reagan was badly hurt when they got into a violent physical confrontation and that Reagan begged her to take the baby because she was afraid she was dying.  

Texas Ranger Josh Mason testified that he did not find Parker’s claims believable and that she told “wildly different stories” over the course of five hours in two separate interviews. 

Earlier in the day, Hancock’s OB-GYN took the stand and testified that Hancock was about eight months along and that the pregnancy was progressing normally at the time of her death. Dr. James Scales told the jury that there were no signs of anything wrong with the baby.  

State’s witnesses:

  • Dr. James Scales, Reagan Hancock’s OBGYN
  • Texas Ranger Josh Mason covers Bowie, Cass, Marion; Lead investigator on Parker case.   
  • Ashley Mottar, Texas DPS, expert in DNA forensic analysis 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 12: Ex-boyfriend Wade Griffin takes stand

The man prosecutors say Taylor Parker faked her pregnancy to keep took the stand on the twelfth day of testimony in her capital murder trial. Wade Griffin described his relationship with Taylor Parker as an “emotional rollercoaster” and acknowledged all the red flags he either missed or ignored over the course of their relationship.

He testified about how she had him convinced she was pregnant for more than ten months before she was arrested on the afternoon of the murders and described what happened when he arrived at the hospital and was greeted by police.

Jurors on Thursday also watched Parker’s first interview with police while she was still in the hospital just before her arrest. Her version of what happened on the morning of the murder was different from what she later told investigators in follow-up interviews.

As soon as testimony wrapped up for the day Thursday and the State rested its case, Parker’s defense attorney asked the judge to throw the charges out, arguing the state failed to prove the baby was actually “born” and, therefore, a “person” as defined by Texas law. The judge denied the request, and the defense rested its case without bringing a single witness.

State’s witnesses:

  • Shonnaree Yeager, former inmate who met Parker in jail
  • Wade Griffin, Taylor Parker’s ex-boyfriend 
  • Chad Dansby, Special Agent with the Oklahoma Office of Special Investigations (OSBI) 

Week 4

Taylor Parker Trial Day 13: Taylor Parker found guilty of capital murder

During closing arguments on day 13 of the Taylor Parker trial, prosecutors summarized the mountain of evidence jurors saw over three weeks of testimony that they said proved Parker is a liar, master manipulator, and an “actress of the highest order,” who plotted and intended to kill Reagan Hancock and take her baby.

Parker’s defense attorney spoke for a total of eight minutes in his closing arguments, reminding the jury of the definitions he told them at the beginning of the trial would be important and explaining how Texas law defines a person when it comes to kidnapping.

“For kidnapping, it’s a human being who has been born and is alive. It’s our position that you can’t kidnap someone unless you’ve been born and alive.”

Harrelson asked the jury to acquit Parker and find her guilty of murder, asking them to “take the evidence you heard and filter it and follow this law as the judge has given you” and apply the law “even if you don’t like it.” 

The jury did not buy that argument and deliberated for less than an hour before returning a unanimous guilty verdict.

Following Parker’s conviction, the trial entered the penalty phase on October 12, with the same jury charged with determining whether she should receive a death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Week 5

Taylor Parker Trial Day 14: Penalty phase opening statements, testimony begins

During opening statements in the penalty phase of the Taylor Parker trial, defense attorney Jeff Harrelson painted Parker as “an unwell, flawed human, but a human being, nonetheless,” whose mental illness, childhood trauma, and a series of life events shaped who she became.

In the State’s opening arguments, prosecutor Kelley Crisp told the jury Parker is “great” at playing the victim and that she would do it again in an attempt to stay off death row. Countering Harrelson’s play for emotions, Crisp reminded the jury of the extraordinary lengths to maintain the appearance of her pregnancy and her lies about money and previewed the prosecution’s plans to present even more evidence proving the kinds of aggravating circumstances that qualify Parker for the death penalty.

Following opening statements, the jury heard from a series of Parker’s former managers and coworkers at various jobs, who say she claimed a variety of illnesses and was frequently out sick. During this testimony, jurors also heard several stories about Parker’s scheming and dishonesty while on the job.

State’s witnesses:

  • Charlotte Morton (neé Johnson), Taylor’s former stepmother
  • Mark Edwards Holmes, retired AmeriPak plant manager
  • Kelsey Turner, former AmeriPak co-worker
  • Crystal Stroman, Titus Regional Medical Center clinic supervisor
  • Azucena “Susie” Ramirez, former NETWC co-worker (recalled to stand)
  • Melissa Mason, NETWC clinic manager (recalled to stand)

Taylor Parker Trial Day 15: Expert witness says Parker is not mentally ill

An expert witness took the state for the prosecution on the second day of the penalty trial, testifying that Taylor Parker was not suffering from any mental illness when she brutally beat and murdered Reagan Hancock and cut her unborn baby from her womb. Forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Arambula called the amount of scheming it took to pull off the lies as long as Parker did “vast, extraordinary, and impressive.”

Jurors learned Parker gave up primary custody of her son in her divorce from her first husband and never paid child support.

The jury also heard from Parker’s jailhouse therapist, who testified about a disturbing incident involving Parker, her “top dog” reputation in the jail, and her refusal to talk about the murder or anything in depth.

State’s witnesses:

  • Eric Marks, partner at Potter Marks law firm in downtown Texarkana. Represented Alex Wacasey in September 2017 divorce from Taylor.
  • Karrah Dickeson LPC, counseled Parker
  • Shavon LaShelle Hill, MS, LPC , family therapist who saw Parker in Sept. 2019 
  • Makesha Parrish, LPC, jailhouse counselor
  • Michael Arambula, M.D., Ph.D., Forensic Psychiatry, expert witness

Week 6

Taylor Parker Trial Day 16: Parker shopped doctors for faked illnesses

On Day 16 of the trial, prosecutors continued to build their case that Taylor Parker’s behavior was not the result of mental illness or a brain injury but instead that she was calculated and persistent in her efforts to avoid her work and parenting responsibilities, and continues to claim a variety of medical issues in an attempt to avoid death row.

The jury also heard from Parker’s ex-husband and his current wife. Amy Wacasey testified that Parker was a frequent no-show for visitation and often turned right around and pawned the child off on other relatives. Taking the stand for the second time in the trial, Tommy Waycasey testified about Parker’s lies and infidelity, her mistreatment of their young son, and how confusing it has all been for the boy. He also testified about raising Parker’s daughter as his own and the family drama surrounding visitation with her.

Also testifying on the third day of the penalty trial were the owner and employees of a medical clinic in Atlanta, Texas, where Parker worked for about two months in 2018 before she was fired for representing herself as a nurse practitioner trying to get a prescription for pain pills filled early. Prosecutors say she was “piggybacking” prescriptions under false pretenses.  

State’s witnesses:

  • Dr. Saud Khan neurology specialist at TRMC   
  • Amy Wacasey, Tommy Waycasey’s wife and stepmother to Taylor’s son with Tommy.
  • Tommy Wacasey, Parker’s ex-husband (recalled to stand)
  • Terry Redd Anderson, Genesis Primecare operations manager
  • Victoria Grandbery, pharmacy technician at Walmart in New Boston 
  • Carla Roadcap – Genesis Primecare CEO  
  • Marcie Sellers Genesis Primecare HR 
  • Nona Ahyosgi, Genesis Primecare referral specialist 
  • Heather Buster, Express Employment Services 
  • Melissa Buster, Express Employment Services (and Heather’s sister) 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 17: Jurors in capital murder trial hear jail calls

Jail calls were played in court on the fourth day of the penalty phase in Taylor Parker’s capital murder trial, revealing 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.

In one call, jurors heard Parker’s mother suggest she try to intentionally trigger a migraine after complaining about the lights being on around the clock in the jail. In other calls, they heard Parker carry on lies originating well before her arrest and accuse the district attorney’s office of stacking the charges against her and destroying evidence that would exonerate her.

The jury also heard Parker’s mother tell her daughter she needed a psychiatric evaluation and the germination of a supposed scheme to get around the garnishment of Parker’s inmate account for medical bills she owed the county by purchasing commissary items in the names of other inmates.

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 to detail more plots Parker pulled off for various purposes.

Venable also provided more testimony offering insight into Parker’s troubled job history.

Former friend Caitlynn Glass testified about her own real battle with multiple sclerosis, and how Parker appeared to mimic her flare-ups. Glass said Parker “got full of herself” after her plastic surgery and was very flirtatious with Glass’ husband and other men. Glass also testified about how Parker falsely portrayed her marriage to Tommy Waycasey and cheated on him.

Jurors also heard from a man who went on a group date with Parker in early August 2019 and who prosecutors said Parker scammed into giving her money.

State’s witnesses:

  • Lt. Andrew Venable, Texas DPS (recalled to stand)
  • Caitlyn Glass, former friend who actually does have MS 
  • Colton Gage, dated Parker in July-Aug 2019 
  • Rosemary Weems, Cooper Tire HR manager 
  • Wendy Knotts, Cooper Tire supervisor 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 18: “A dead stare:” Former close friend recalls disturbing encounter with Taylor Parker

Testimony resumed on the fifth day of the penalty phase of the Taylor Parker trial, with Wade Griffin’s mother returning to the stand to talk about Parker’s treatment of her children and the letter Parker wrote to her husband Jimmy after her arrest.

Parker’s former close friend Stephanie Ott also took the stand, describing how she came to realize her friend was not actually pregnant, and recounting a heart-pounding encounter with Parker after she questioned the now-convicted killer.

Jurors also heard from Griffin and Parker‘s neighbors in Simms about what they saw going next door, things Parker lied about to keep Wade in the dark about her schemes, and how things played out from their points of view on the day of the murder.

Also taking the stand were two Mount Pleasant police officers who responded to the bomb threat called in to the Titus Regional Medical Center on Oct. 5. They spoke of the impact the threat had not only on patients and staff at the hospital but on the city itself as a result of the lockdown required while police methodically searched the hospital and surrounding streets were shut down.

State’s witnesses:

  • Connie Griffin, Wade Griffin’s mother (recalled to the stand)
  • Shaun Harris, aka Shaun Martin, VP of RPM Staffing. Her sister Lisa Jones owns RPM. 
  • Stephanie Ott, former friend
  • Tiffany Maynard, Wade and Taylor’s neighbor in Simms  
  • Suzette Conner, Wade and Taylor’s other neighbor in Simms 
  • McKenzie Bright, former friend
  • Officer Bryan Denny, Mount Pleasant Police Department Lieutenant  
  • Christopher Durant III, MPPD 
  • Marquin Brewer, MPPD

Week 7

Taylor Parker Trial Day 19: Former jailhouse lover testifies in Taylor Parker trial

Parker’s first ex-husband Tommy Wacasey was called back to the stand for the third time since the trial began and confirmed Parker used to practice other people’s handwriting and signatures “all the time” and had her mother and grandmother’s signatures down. Wacasey also confirmed Parker’s handwriting on numerous documents in a process that took more than 20 minutes before he left the stand, calling out specific letters he recognized as hers.  

That set up the testimony that followed involving the fake confession letters and other notes prosecutors say Parker wrote as part of her plot to frame another inmate. Jurors learned how Parker tried to get fellow inmates to help her execute the plan by planting evidence and fabricating witnesses.

Among those taking the stand was a former jailhouse girlfriend who angrily addressed Taylor Parker as she testified about their relationship and the lies Parker told her about the murder and framing plot. It was the first time in the trial that any of the witnesses directly addressed Parker.

State’s witnesses:

  • Tommy Wacasey, Taylor’s husband from 2011-2018 (recalled to the stand)
  • Shonnaree Yeager, former fellow inmate (recalled to stand)
  • Phyllis Dawson, former fellow inmate  
  • Mark Wild, Texas DPS Crime Lab in Austin – certified latent print examiner.  
  • Kaleigh Bromsey, Bi-State inmate  
  • Lana Addison, Parker’s jailhouse lover 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 20: Fake confession letters revealed in Taylor Parker trial

On Day 20 of the Taylor Parker trial, the jury got their first look at the two confession letters Parker fabricated to frame another inmate for the murder.

Texas DPS Special Investigator Briscoe Davis testified that the letters contain details about the murders that only the perpetrator could have known, including some of the injuries Hancock suffered that were only discovered during her autopsy. Davis said he believes Parker was “reliving” the crime as she wrote those letters, drawing an objection from Parker’s defense attorney.

An expert in latent fingerprints testified that only Parker’s fingerprints could be identified on the ten-page confession letter, which was never unsealed from the envelope it was in when Parker handed it to inmate Phyllis Dawson to copy and distribute when she got out of jail.

Davis also testified that an eight-page letter Parker wrote to her jailhouse girlfriend filled in the gaps of the confession letters from her point of view and called the level of sophistication it would take to pull off the framing plot “amazingly complex.”

Also entered into evidence was a prayer devotional in which Parker prayed to God that the blame for the murders be placed on the inmate she was attempting to frame.

State’s witnesses:

  • Officer David “Rusty” Hill, NBPD Detective  
  • Sarah Prior, Texas DPS forensics investigator 
  • Texas DPS Special Agent Briscoe Davis 
  • Robbie McCarver, BCSO chief deputy 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 21: Taylor Parker FBI letter offers help solving crimes

Jurors in the Taylor Parker capital murder trial learned on Day 21 that the convicted killer had written a letter to the FBI, claiming she was innocent and offering to help the FBI solve crimes in the hopes they could help her avoid the death penalty.  

Texas DPS Lt. Andrew Venable took the stand for the second time in the trial as prosecutors detailed the eight-page letter Parker wrote to her jailhouse girlfriend, which filled in gaps in the story left out by the confession letters from Parker’s perspective and marries up the timelines between the two versions.

Jurors also saw more body cam video from the traffic stop in De Kalb on the morning of the murder. Prosecutors say it shows Parker was more concerned with getting to the hospital in Idabel and not CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana than with following the infant CPR instructions LifeNet EMS dispatchers were trying to give her on the phone.  

The jury heard about unaccounted-for time between the time Parker left the crime scene in New Boston and when she was pulled over. A former deputy also took the stand to testify about finding a syringe full of powerful animal tranquilizer in the purse recovered from the car.

In other testimony, a former Bi-State corrections officer testified about all the ways Parker was able to get away with violating jail policies and how she used her reputation, bullying, and manipulation to get her way.  

Jurors also heard about Parker’s love of “very dark books” with deviant themes, her apparent aspirations of becoming an actress, her lies about being named “the sexiest killer alive,” and one of two apparent inquiries suggesting Parker was considering trying to put a hit out on her mother.

State’s witnesses:

  • Texas DPS Lt. Andrew Venable (recalled to stand) 
  • Christopher Chase Carter   
  • Westin Fannin, former Bowie County sheriff’s deputy
  • Leonzel Shavers, Texas DPS trooper
  • Zach Allen, NBPD, one of the first officers on Austin St. crime scene
  • Ofcr. Samantha Malone, former jailer at Bi-State

Taylor Parker Trial Day 22: Taylor Parker trial testimony reveals cruel details in baby’s death

In a difficult day of testimony, the medical examiner who conducted baby Braxlynn’s autopsy explained how the results show Reagan Hancock’s unborn baby was violently ripped from her womb during her murder, causing the baby’s death.  

The jury also heard once again from Parker’s former OBGYN, who testified as an expert witness that, at 35 weeks, baby Braxlynn was preterm but would have been born perfectly healthy under normal circumstances. Mason also testified about the kind of blood loss that occurs even during a normal, controlled cesarean section and that too much blood loss would affect the baby’s oxygen levels, and about how brutal Parker’s crude c-section would have been on Reagan and the baby.

As jurors viewed photos of the placenta, which was also recovered from the car after the traffic stop, Hastings explained that its condition indicated it had been violently removed from Reagan’s body.

The supervisor of the jail’s medical staff took the stand and talked about Parker’s frequent medical calls and visits to the hospital that started soon after her arrival at the jail and about how Parker was one of the most difficult sick call inmates she has ever seen. Kelly Gilchrist said Parker was abusive and aggressive toward the jail medical staff.

Jurors heard about Parker’s dishonest and manipulative attempts to convince jail staff to turn off the lights that are required to stay on around the clock for security reasons. In addition to Parker’s numerous false medical claims, witnesses testified about all the contraband found in her cell.

Jurors watched surveillance video from Parker’s jail pod, showing Parker staying out of her cell late to watch coverage of her trial in the dayroom after carrying on a lengthy and animated conversation with an off-camera jailer. Jurors also heard about Parker taking it upon herself to switch to another cell and filing a complaint when she was told to switch back, and about her cockiness in her belief that she would go free.

State’s witnesses:

  • Dr. Christopher Mason, OBGYN 
  • Johnny Voss, IPD 
  • Steven Hastings, Medical Examiner for Dallas County, did Braxlynn’s autopsy 
  • Kelly Gilchrist, administrator of Turnkey Health Clinics at Bowie County Corrections 
  • Amber Monk, Bi-State Jail corrections officer 
  • Kendall Nichols, Bi-State corrections officer
  • Nathaniel Johnson, Captain at Bi-State Jail   
  • Kristina Brooks Keaton, former Bi-State Jail corrections officer

Week 8

Taylor Parker Trial Day 23: Parker’s mother takes stand

The final witnesses called to the stand as the State made its case for Parker to get the death penalty were prison officials who testified about security concerns if Parker were to get life in prison. They said such a scenario would give Parker too much opportunity to scheme and cause chaos in jail, as she had since she has been in custody at the Bi-State Detention Center in Bowie County.  

This testimony detailed what the more isolated, locked-down life on Death Row would be like for Parker and compared to a relatively communal life she would live among the general population if she got a life sentence.

State’s witnesses:

  • Timothy Fitzpatrick, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Director of Classification and Records 
  • Andrea Lozada, Senior Warden at Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas (where state houses female death row inmates) 

Defense witness:

  • Shonna Prior, Taylor Parker’s mother 

As soon as the State rested, the defense began presenting witnesses as they made their case for Parker to avoid the death penalty. First on the stand on Parker’s behalf was her mother, Shona Prior. Prior testified for a little over an hour, talking about her daughter’s childhood and weight issues before getting into the medical conditions that have been at the center of the state’s case.

Prior also talked about the fallout from her decision to allow her daughter’s emergency hysterectomy before testimony wrapped up for the day.

Taylor Parker Trial Day 24: Taylor Parker’s mother: ‘We figured the lie would be exposed’

Prior returned to the stand to finish her testimony on Day 24 of her daughter’s capital murder trial, admitting she knew Taylor was not pregnant but did not confront her about it because she believed Wade Griffin would “figure it out.”

Parker’s defense attorney showed the jury family photos and played jail calls between Parker and her children as Prior testified that Parker’s children love their mother. Prior denied that she ever worried that confronting her daughter about her faked pregnancy would result in Parker keeping her grandchildren from her, even though that was what she told a grand jury the month after the murder.

Prior also downplayed her daughter’s love of “dark books” and denied Parker was ever ordered to pay the child support prosecutors say she never once paid. She also insisted her daughter’s various medical ailments and symptoms were real.

Prior confirmed she never put a hit out on her daughter, that she was not injured in a shootout with police, and did not commit suicide in jail. She denied knowing about any of the framing schemes Parker is accused of attempting in jail.

Parker’s brother, aunt, and grandmother also testified, along with the sister of the man who fathered Parker’s daughter, forcing the 17-year-old to drop out of school.

Defense witnesses:

  • Shonna Prior, Taylor Parker’s mother (continued) 
  • Jennifer Whiteside, older sister of the father of Parker’s daughter, Donald Whiteside
  • Zachary Morton, Parker’s brother 
  • Molly Glass, Taylor’s aunt 
  • Kathy Frost, Taylor’s grandmother 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 25: Former jailer claims Taylor Parker victim of ‘vendetta’

First on the stand on Day 25 was an expert who testified that Parker is a pathological liar and a manipulative person but that it was hard to predict whether she would pose a threat of violence in the future. That is a key question the jury must consider in deciding whether a capital defendant should get the death penalty.

Testimony wrapped up in Week 8 of the trial after jurors heard from a former corrections officer who befriended the convicted killer and claims she has been mistreated at the jail. Diedra Cramer admitted to forming a close bond with Parker and praying with her but denied Parker ever manipulated her or that she gave Parker any special treatment. She claimed she never had any reason to shake down Parker’s cell.

Contraband, including a razor, was found in Parker’s cell by another jailer after left the job.

Cramer faced a tough line of questioning from prosecutor Lauren Richards on cross-examination. 

Defense witnesses:

  • Defense witness #6 Dr. Edward B. Gripon, MD Expert in future dangerousness
  • Defense witness #7 Diedra Hudson Cramer, former CO who befriended Parker  

Week 9

Taylor Parker Trial Day 26: Neurologist: Parker’s brain is ‘broken;’ defense rests

A New York City neuropsychologist testified that he found evidence of atrophy in the frontal lobes of Parker’s brain, which govern behavior and executive function. He said that explains her impulsivity and lack of inhibition, as well as her inconsistent stories and “confabulations.”  

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards questioned how Parker could have been as calculated in her scheming as the evidence and testimony suggests if critical brain functioning was the real issue and pushed back on the neurologist’s assertion that confabulation is the same as pathological lying.  

Jurors also heard from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and longtime friend of Parker’s late grandmother, as well as an Austin-based Licensed Master Social Worker and Advanced Practitioner who say she did an assessment on Parker that found she suffered trauma in her childhood and development that could have contributed to her actions.

As she did in the first phase of the trial, Parker declined to testify in her own defense.

Defense witnesses:

  • Siddhartha Nadkarni, MD; Expert in Neurology Testing: Neurological Evaluation and Assessment 
  • Kim Basinger, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) 
  • Laura Elmore, LMSW-AP Licensed Master Social Worker and Advanced Practitioner

Taylor Parker Trial Day 27: Rebuttals

Prosecutors bought two forensic psychologists to the stand to counter Parker’s defense expert witnesses and testify to details they say Parker revealed to them in her version of the events leading up to the murders. While both doctors said these accounts included more lies, they also shed more light on the convicted killer’s state of mind and motivations for faking her pregnancy and killing Reagan Hancock. 

Following the testimony from the forensic psychologist, prosecutors introduced new evidence gathered earlier in the morning in a search of Parker’s jail cell, consisting of several contraband items. Those items included a razor, a schematic drawing of the Bowie County Jail Annex, and a mask with sunflowers on it were among the items Parker wore the sunflower mask in pre-trial hearings in what prosecutors say was a cruel and intentional move, given that sunflowers were Reagan Hancock’s favorite flower and Parker knew it. 

Prosecutors said the contraband counters claims by the defense that Parker is not a future danger, which is a key question that jurors have to answer in determining whether she gets the death penalty. 

Reagan’s mother Jessica Brookes previously testified in the first phase of the trial about finding her daughter’s body on the morning of her murder. She took the stand once more during the penalty phase and testified about the pain and loss she and her family continue to suffer as a result of Parker’s actions. 

State’s rebuttal witnesses:

  • Dr. Timothy Proctor, Ph.D., ABPP, Forensic Psychology 
  • Michael Arambula, M.D., Ph.D., Forensic Psychiatry (recalled to stand) 
  • Nathanial Johnson, Captain at Bi-State Jail (recalled to stand) 
  • Jessica Brookes, Reagan’s mother (recalled to stand) 

Taylor Parker Trial Day 28: Closing arguments and verdict

Both sides presented their closing arguments to the jury before a packed courtroom on the morning of the final day of the Taylor Parker trial.

Prosecutors reminded the jury of the mountain of evidence, the extraordinary and complex levels of scheming, and the brutality of the crime. Parker’s defense attorney told the jury that Parker is flawed but human and that her family and the “systems” she relied on failed her when so many people knew she was faking her pregnancy and talked to each other about it but never confronted her directly.

It took the jury just over an hour to come back with a verdict.

Parker remained still as Judge John Tidwell read the verdict and polled the jury, but she could be seen shaking and crying as he formally sentenced her to death. Prosecutors hugged Reagan’s family members as deputies handcuffed Parker behind her back and brought her to the stand so that family members could give their impact statements.

Within hours after her sentencing, Parker was on her way to the state prison in Gatesville for processing before her transfer to the Mountain View unit, where the state houses female death row inmates.