A faked pregnancy and bizarre, unstable finances highlighted witness testimony in the capital murder trial of a woman accused of murdering a pregnant woman and taking the baby, according to the Texarkana Gazette.
Taylor Rene Parker, 29, faces murder charges for the October 2020 deaths of 21-year-old Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock and her unborn child, NBC previously reported.
A juror fell ill shortly before 2 p.m., at which time Judge John Tidwell called for a recess, then dismissed court until Tuesday after the juror was escorted from the room, the Gazette says. Tidwell added that the alternative juror would be used if necessary, the Gazette adds.
Connie Griffin, the mother of Wade Griffin, a man who dated Parker, testified Monday morning that she and Wade discussed Parker’s apparent pregnancy a few times, the Gazette says.
She claims that Wade questioned if a tummy tuck could change how Parker would show during a pregnancy, the Gazette says.
“I told him that was not true. I did try to talk to him about, but he was convinced,” Connie said, according to the Gazette.
Connie went on to testify that Wade and Parker bought her a new Nissan Altima and parked it in her driveway, adding that she had no idea where they got the money for the vehicle, the Gazette says.
When Parker called a few weeks later, she claimed the dealership wanted to pick the car up in her driveway to fix issues related to a brake recall, the Gazette says. However, when Connie called the dealership, she discovered the car had not even been paid for, the Gazette adds.
“That's when I realized something was seriously wrong,” Connie told the court, the Gazette says.
A woman who formerly worked with Parker, Susie Ramirez, claimed she knew Parker’s medical history and was certain Parker couldn’t be pregnant, but said that revealing that information could have cost her her license, the Gazette says.
She also testified that Parker visited the clinic in February 2020 to obtain her medical records, the Gazette says.
“She proceeded to tell me a story about a mass in her abdomen with a heart beat and she was having a biopsy to see if it was a viable pregnancy. I just listened to her story,” Ramirez explained, according to the Gazette.
She added that Wade Griffin had called the clinic several times seeking information that no one could give him, and that patients couldn’t bring anyone into appointments with them at the time due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Gazette says.
Ramirez also said she and Parker were friends on social media, and she followed Parker’s pregnancy posts there, the Gazette says.
Wade’s long-time friend, Cody Ott, testified that Parker discussed owning land in Bryans Mill, how her grandparents owned oil wells, and how she was coming into a hefty inheritance, the Gazette says. Ott added that the couple was trying to buy 1500 acres on the Red River, the Gazette says.
Ott said he spoke up when Wade talked about quitting his job upon Parker receiving the inheritance, according to the Gazette.
“I told him, ‘Dude, all this is a scam. It's not really happening,” Ott said, calling Parker a “good manipulator”, the Gazette reports.
The photographer who took Parker’s maternity photos also testified, the Gazette says.
“I was touching her stomach, placing her hands, I couldn't tell it was not real,” Kelly Mae May said, according to the Gazette.
Parker could face the death sentence, or life in prison without parole if she is found guilty, NBC previously reported.