Testimony from Wade Griffin’s mother Connie continued Tuesday morning in the Taylor Parker murder trial.
Through tears, Connie Griffin told the jury that she is unsure what else she could have done to confirm her suspicions about Parker faking a pregnancy.
Griffin testified that she attempted to warn her son multiple times about Parker’s pregnancy claims and constant money issues. Griffin affirmed that during the course of the relationship, she never confronted Parker directly. She also testified that she had considered hiring a private investigator.
After confronting Wade Griffin with a message from Parker’s ex-husband, she said her son cut off contact with her for almost four months. While she did eventually decide to attend the gender reveal party for Parker’s baby, she said that she did so only because she had just attended one for her other son the week before and did not want to further damage her relationship with Wade.
Griffin also testified that shortly after this, Wade came to her with messages which appeared to be from Parker’s mother, claiming responsibility for all of her financial woes.
After a fire at Wade’s residence, the two showed up at Connie’s house to shower. That morning, Parker had begun saying that she was due to be induced, but a bomb threat had shut the hospital down.
“Yeah, you called it in,” Griffin testified saying in response to the claim.
While her son showered, Connie confronted Parker about a trip that Parker’s mother had taken to Colorado with her other children. Parker had claimed for months that she didn’t have a relationship with her mother. “She got real quiet,” Griffin said.
Then, as Parker showered, Connie confronted her son. She told him that she feared he would lose his job after taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act, and that Parker was past her due date. She urged him to return to work and told him about Parker’s hysterectomy.
“Wade, she is not pregnant,” she recalled saying.
She testified that her son was upset after hearing this and, once Parker finished showering, the two left.
On the morning Parker was scheduled for induction, Connie went over to Wade’s residence to look for his birth certificate. While inside the home, she testified seeing a crib, baby bouncer, and baby clothing. A few hours later, she heard the news about Reagan Hancock’s murder.
“I honestly thought she would fake a miscarriage,” Griffin said.
After more testimony from Griffin, defense attorney Jeff Harrelson attempted to enter a letter Parker had written Wade’s father into evidence. This, along with a line of questioning by the defense that seemed to indicate that Wade Griffin may have been knowledgeable about her plans, prompted prosecuting attorney Kelly Crisp to object.
Crisp stated that the defense seemed to be trying to make a mitigation case, which would need to be argued during the punishment phase. Mitigation is typically when jurors hear testimony after a conviction before deciding on sentencing. Harrelson denied ever claiming Wade Griffin as a co-perpetrator during the past five and a half days of trial.
Judge Tidwell denied Crisp’s request and more testimony resumed after the trial’s lunch break.
Testimony from expert witness Rick Jones, a forensic fire analyst and former fire marshal, indicated that, as part of an insurance investigation through State Farm, he had found cause to believe that the house fire at Wade Griffin’s residence had not been caused by an electrical issue, but rather by someone using a lighter he found near the fire’s origin. Jones said that, with the lighter as evidence, he believes the fire was a deliberate act of arson.
Next on the stand was veteran Mount Pleasant Police Department investigator Travis Nichols, who testified that he received the call about a bomb threat to the Titus Regional Medical Center. He said that the call seemed to be in a male voice and confirmed that it was the same day Parker told Griffin her inducement had been cancelled. The hospital had over 100 patients who had to be evacuated before the threat was proven to be a false alarm. It was later determined that the call came from Parker using an app to disguise her voice.
Tiffany Harris, a former friend of Parker’s, testified that Parker wanted her to host a drive-by baby shower despite the fact the Harris’ husband was undergoing bypass surgeries. During this time, Parker had registered for baby gifts with a due date of September 28. Harris said that Parker always seemed sweet and charming, as other witnesses had testified.
Two employees from an OB/GYN clinic in Paris, Texas, gave testimony about Parker’s new patient appointment on September 30, 2020. One, a receptionist, testified that she found Parker crying in the lobby. Parker told the employee that her mother had failed to show up, and that she wanted to reschedule the appointment. When asked why she was crying, the employee testified that Parker claimed her husband was in the military and had been killed.
An RN at the clinic affirmed that Parker’s emotional outburst prompted a doctor to try to console her, even offering a sonogram that she could take with her. Parker turned down the offer, which struck the RN as odd, since mothers-to-be usually want as many sonograms as they can get. Parker rescheduled the appointment for the next day, but never showed up.
Both women testified that Parker was still sitting on a bench outside the clinic over an hour later, observing other pregnant women coming and going from the clinic. Parker’s Google search history shows that, as she was sitting at the clinic that day, she was looking up license plate numbers of the pregnant patients.
Jurors also heard from Blake Aubrey, a human resources manager from Cooper Tire. He testified that Parker was hired on in March 2020 as a payroll clerk, and that she nailed her interview process.
“We thought we knocked it out of the park when we hired her,” Aubrey said.
However, it became apparent that Parker had lied about her qualifications, and her job performance suffered. Aubrey said that she also had a habit of conducting personal business while on the clock, including spending a large amount of time on her phone.
Aubrey also affirmed that texts Parker had sent Wade Griffin about her job duties did not match what she actually did at work. Aubrey also testified that she never mentioned being pregnant at work, though she did claim to have several medical issues during her time there. She ultimately quit the job via text message.
A witness from Parker’s next employer also claimed that she never brought up a pregnancy while employed and that she never appeared to be pregnant at work.
Today’s testimony is set to include a crime scene investigator who worked the scene of Reagan Hancock’s murder.