A young woman from the US state of Texas, accused of killing her pregnant friend in order to steal her unborn child, was sentenced to death on Wednesday.
A jury of six men and six women in a court in Bowie, about 250 miles from Dallas, deliberated for less than two hours before handing down the sentence of Taylor Rene Parker, 29, local media quoted by the New York Post.
Parker was convicted of murder on October 3. She killed her friend, Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock, 21, and her unborn daughter in October 2020.
“She was my only sister. You have to understand what you have taken from me and my family. I was only 19 when I got the phone call to say my sister had died”the sister of Parker’s victim said in an emotional statement before jurors began to deliberate.
In the months leading up to the murder, Parker pretended to be pregnant to get her boyfriend to leave her, prosecutors said. She wore a fake belly, fake ultrasounds, posted pregnancy photos and impressions on social media, and even threw a party to reveal the baby’s gender.
Parker, who can’t get pregnant because she had a hysterectomy, told her boyfriend she was due to give birth the day of the murder. So on the morning of October 9, 2020, Parker hit Simmons-Hancock in the head with a hammer and stabbed her more than 100 times, after which he cut open her abdomen with a scalpel and removed her baby. Parker fled with the child – a girl, who later died.
Parker, who has the right to appeal, will be transferred to a special detention center for women sentenced to death.