Taylor Parker, 28, has been indicted for capital murder in connection with the alleged murder of a Texas woman and her baby
We think the death penalty should be off the table where the accused has a mental illness
Taylor Parker, 28, has been indicted for capital murder in connection with the alleged murder of a Texas woman and her baby’s deaths. She had been previously charged with the murder of the 21-year-old Reagan Hancock and kidnapped for allegedly stealing the infant, the Texarkana Gazette reports.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. She is being held without bail in the Bowie County Jail. The next hearing is set for April.
“The preliminary investigation indicated an unborn child had been removed from the victim’s body,” according to a New Boston Police Department press release.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Chad Dansby said Parker was speeding and pulled over by a Texas State Trooper in De Kalb after the alleged attack.
‘She claimed she had just given birth, and the baby wasn’t breathing,’ he told PEOPLE.
Parker and the baby were rushed by ambulance to McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel, Okla. Dansby said hospital staff was suspicious when she refused to be checked out by doctors.
“She didn’t want them to check her,” he said. ‘We were told that, so I talked her into letting the doctor check. They called the doctor, and he pretty much told us she didn’t have a baby. It was just a matter of getting her to tell us what happened.’
The baby died at the hospital.
According to a PayPal donation fund set up to help raise money for her husband Homer and their daughter, Hancock and her accused killer were friends.
‘Reagan Hancock and her unborn baby were selfishly killed by someone Reagan considered a friend,’ the account reads. ‘We are trying to raise money for Homer and their daughter. Let’s rally together and raise enough money to stress him for any expenses that will occur.
Hancock wrote on her Facebook page in August that she was expecting a baby girl.
‘Some of you know, some of you don’t… but we are having another SWEET BABY GIRL come November the 10th (give or take),” she wrote. “She already acts like her daddy & big sister. We cannot wait for our Braxlynn Sage to be here. Daddy is definitely outnumbered.’” Source: PEOPLE.com
Officers learned Simmons was approximately 34 weeks pregnant and requested EMS personnel to come to the scene and check on the status of the baby,” the document continues. “The body camera footage from police shows Life Net EMS turn Simmons’ body over, which revealed a substantial cut across Simmons’ abdomen area. EMS personnel determined Simmons no longer had a baby in her stomach area.
THE CALL FOR THE DEATH PENALTY, IN THIS CASE, SEEMS DISENGENUIS
We are opposed to the death penalty in all cases except where the defendant competently requests to be executed. In this case, the gruesome details of the murders cry out for maximum punishment; the circumstances also illuminate the killings’ madness. No sane person would commit such acts; Parker must be suffering from mental defects.
Texas defines capital homicide as a murder involving specific circumstances or situations, including:
- The victim is a peace officer or fireman killed while on duty;
- The murder occurred while the defendant was committing (or attempting to commit) a kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, or arson;
- Murder “for hire” (both the hirer and the hired);
- The murder occurred during the course of an actual or attempted prison break;
- Multiple murders occurred as a result of the defendant’s acts; and
- The victim was younger than ten years old.
As with most other states, Texas uses lethal injection for its executions. Those under the age of 17 or lacking capacity (such as legal insanity) may not be executed in Texas.
The subject of mental illness can be constructed during trial and sentencing in Texas courts before the court or jury or both, But we think the death penalty should be off the table where the accused has a mental illness. The Supreme Court’s admonition that a defendant must comprehend what they are being executed for fails a basic humane test and is subject to seemingly obscure analysis by state and defense expert witnesses. The measure should be if a defendant has an important mental illness, the death penalty should not be sought.