BOWIE COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Prosecutors say Taylor Parker has continued to scheme and make wildly false claims while in custody at the Bowie County jail, including attempting to mastermind a sophisticated plot to frame two of her fellow inmates.
Parker, 29, faces the death penalty following her conviction Monday on charges of capital murder and kidnapping in the October 2020 death of 21-year-old Reagan Hancock and the kidnapping of her unborn child, Braxlynn Sage. The baby, born 35 weeks pre-term by crude c-section, did not survive.
Prosecutors have said they are seeking the death penalty due to the heinous and pre-meditated nature of the crime and because Parker showed no remorse.
The penalty phase of the trial is set to begin on Oct. 12. Under Texas law, “evidence may be presented by the state and the defendant or the defendant’s counsel as to any matter that the court deems relevant to sentence, including evidence of the defendant’s background or character or the circumstances of the offense that mitigates against the imposition of the death penalty.”
During this phase, the same jury that unanimously convicted Parker must decide whether she should spend life in prison or get the death penalty. Parker’s defense team will have the opportunity to present the individual facts of her life to the jury, which can include evidence of childhood trauma, mental illness, and even brain injuries. The State will also have an opportunity to present evidence and witnesses about aggravating factors in the case and rebut testimony given by witnesses for Parker’s defense.
Aggravating factors can include the severity of the crime and the history of the defendant, including “extraneous offenses, bad acts, and other wrongs.” According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Parker has given the State plenty to work with since she’s been in jail.
“Since her arrival at the jail, she has repeatedly and continuously engaged in criminal behavior, violations of jail policy, and has continued her fraudulent pattern of lying and misrepresenting most all aspects of her medical history and medical status,” Bowie County First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said in a notice to the court of the State’s intent to introduce extraneous offenses as they make their case for Parker to get the death penalty.
Felony crimes and “bad acts”
The notice includes an extensive accounting of felony crimes and “bad acts.” Some of it came out in the guilt-innocence phase, but a large chunk of it covers Parker’s activities since her arrest and is likely to come out during the penalty phase.
In addition to welfare and benefits fraud going back to December 2010 and continuing until her arrest, prosecutors plan to introduce evidence of Parker’s crimes, misdeeds, and “malingering” since she has been in custody following her extradition back to Texas from Oklahoma on Oct. 14, 2020. They say she has been so disruptive and difficult that the jail has had to change its policies and procedures.
“The defendant has been incarcerated at the Bowie County jail and has continuously and repeatedly caused chaos and confusion and has disrupted jail operations by fabricating grievances, medical conditions and issues with other inmates and correctional officers.”
That includes filing unfounded complaints against jail staff and threatening lawsuits against them as individuals over alleged mistreatment and discrimination, as well as comments that prosecutors say could be taken as threats of physical harm.
According to court documents, Parker has also continued to show no remorse while behind bars. In fact, prosecutors say, Parker has alternately continued to claim innocence or told varying stories explaining that she did it but was forced to or that she was framed. None of those stories match up with the evidence presented at trial.
Parker has remained in protective custody at the Bi-State Detention Center since her arrest, but she has access to an email kiosk and the jail telephone system. She has also written dozens of letters. Those communications are monitored and recorded, and prosecutors say it will all be introduced in the penalty phase of the trial as evidence of her ongoing “schemes and scams.”
Unnecessary sick calls and false medical claims
In addition to her calls and emails, prosecutors plan to present other documents, notes, and testimony from fellow inmates and corrections officers, as well as a complete copy of Parker’s full medical records with testimony from her medical and mental health care providers.
“If it’s not a flat-out fabrication of a medical condition, it’s a dramatic exaggeration of a medical condition,” prosecutors said in the filing, which includes examples of Parker’s “bogus medical claims” and demands for unnecessary medical care.
“The defendant insisted on having an oxygen tank in her jail cell 6 at the Bowie County jail and then the defendant would be observed by the jail staff not using the oxygen,” Crisp said. “Subsequent medical testing revealed that the defendant was not in need of the assistance of oxygen.”
In addition to continuing to claim she had a stroke in 2015 and suffers from a rare blood disorder, prosecutors say Parker made repeated sick calls demanding medical attention for injuries and ailments that do not exist “and then use the time she was being transported to the jail medical department to flirt with her boyfriends or pass notes.”
When jail staff put a stop to that, prosecutors say Parker threw a fit.
“When the medical staff started examining the defendant at the defendant’s cell instead of taking the defendant to the medical department the defendant became upset. The defendant also becomes furious when the typical jail procedures for security are applied to her. The defendant does not want to be handcuffed in the back and gets angry when she is not handcuffed in the front. Members of the medical staff have complained that the defendant is not properly restrained.”
On top of all that, prosecutors say Parker violated jail policy by cooking up a scheme to avoid having her inmate account garnished to pay the medical bills she owes the county, having her mother buy commissary items in the names of other inmates who would then give the items to her. As of February 2022, Taylor Parker owed over $2,260 to Bowie County for medical expenses.
And somehow, prosecutors say, Parker managed to reactivate her SnapChat account in April 2022, under the same user name she used before the murders and her arrest.
Alternative perpetrators and a “frame-up”
Prosecutors say Parker has discussed the details of the case with inmates and others, including alternative perpetrator theories, and even masterminded a “sophisticated jailhouse scheme” to frame fellow inmates and exonerate herself.
Since her arrival at the jail, prosecutors say Parker “has repeatedly and continuously engaged in criminal behavior, including a massive fraudulent scheme directed at fabricating evidence, tampering with witnesses and ultimately attempting to frame a mentally fragile inmate” for the crime. The details of that plot, which involved two confession letters believed penned by Parker but intended to look like they were coming from a fellow inmate, will likely feature prominently in the penalty phase of the trial.
In varying alternative versions of the murder, Parker has claimed she did it because she was under the influence of drugs or that a drug dealer kidnapped, drugged, and forced her to participate because she owed him money for her Dilaudid habit. In another version, Parker told her jailhouse girlfriend she was targeted for drugging and kidnapping because she was known to have large sums of money and that Reagan paid the price.
“My money lie got my friend killed and no matter what I’ll wear the scar on my heart forever,” Parker told her girlfriend. “I don’t want to be a hero because I wasn’t that day. Reagan refused to show those SOBs any weakness,” Parker wrote. “As I begged pleaded cried screamed. She told me to say nothing. I will never unsee the worst day of my life.”
“Absolutely none of this is true,” Crisp said in the court document, “except for the defendant tells wild lies about being wealthy when she is not.”
Other versions blame her ex-boyfriend Wade, the victim’s husband, Homer, and Reagan herself for calling out her fake pregnancy and refusing to call Wade to pose as Parker’s nurse to tell him she had lost the baby.
Jailhouse love letters
Parker also penned quite a few jailhouse love letters, according to prosecutors, and “has repeatedly and continuously maintained multiple romantic relationships“ with other inmates, both within the jail and incarcerated at other facilities. She has also reportedly enlisted the help of her family and friends to contact and communicate with potential romantic interests on the outside.
Prosecutors plan to present those communications to the jury, some of which are explicit. Others appear to include attempts to find a “sugar daddy” to send her money in jail as well as more claims of innocence, abuse at the hands of her exes, and dreams of building a home and family “based on God.”
“Please, I have said this before, I’m so understanding, just don’t lie to me,” she told her jailhouse boyfriend, who had been transferred. “I would never play someones emotions. Games are not for me.”
Ripped jail clothes
Prosecutors say Parker complained to her parents in phone calls and emails about her ripped and holy jail clothes, asking for money to replace them. But photos snapped of inmates when they use the jail’s e-mail kiosk show Parker had intentionally modified them to make them more revealing and provocative.
A documentary and a “tell-all”
Parker also claimed to have a Netflix deal for a documentary and a contract for a “tell-all“ biography.
“I want my innocent side to come out. I am wrongly accused,” Parker wrote in one jailhouse letter. She also told a jailhouse girlfriend she wanted to give interviews and tell her story so that she would get some money.
As for her claim that Netflix wanted to come film at the jail, the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office said it has received no such requests.
Reading and writing murder mysteries
According to the court filing, Parker is an avid reader of murder mysteries, and her family sends her lots of them. They say she “maintains an extensive collection of books in her jail cell. The defendant frequently discusses her books about murder and such with other inmates, medical staff, and correctional officers. The defendant keeps books about how to solve murders. The defendant has previously written short stories about murder, has written jail letters offering her services to the FBI to assist them in solving murders, and reads books about murder in the jail.”
“I love to read but my true joy is writing. I love every part of putting together a story,” Parker told wrote to of her jailhouse boyfriends after he was transferred to another facility.
Adding insult to injury
Prosecutors noted in the court filing that Parker routinely wears makeup in the jail and to the medical department, as well as to attorney visits and court appearances. But more disturbing to the victims’ loved ones is Parker’s seemingly intentional sartorial references to a symbol they have come to associate with Reagan Hancock’s memory.
Since she was arrested amid the COVID-19 pandemic, prosecutors say, Parker wore a face mask to pretrial hearings with sunflowers on it.
“The defendant will wear the mask even on occasions where no one else in the courtroom is wearing a mask. The sunflower was Reagan Hancock’s favorite flower and members of the courtroom gallery are frequently wearing sunflower jewelry, clothing, etc in remembrance of Reagan and Braxlynn Hancock. The defendant has repeatedly and continuously worn a mask with sunflowers on it in front of Reagan’s widower, Homer Hancock, and in front of Reagan’s mother, Jessica Brookes.”
Sunflowers were a prominent theme in Reagan and Homer Hancock’s wedding, which Taylor Parker photographed for the couple one year before the murders.