The parents of a newborn girl found dead in Ocean Shores last weekend were in court again Wednesday, this time as prosecutors amended the charges against them.
Both Patrick L. Parnel, 21, and Brittany N. Taylor, 21, of Humptulips, were initially charged with first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault.
Parnel was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, and his bail went up to $500,000.
“It’s documented there were steps taken to conceal this crime,” Prosecutor Katie Svoboda said.
Parnel’s attorney, Brett Colacurcio, didn’t object, noting “$250,000 is as close to the moon as it matters for Mr. Parnel, I don’t think doubling it will make a difference.”
Colacurcio did ask for an investigator to help preserve evidence in the case, and expenses of up to $1,000 were approved.
Parnel wept through most of his appearance, his voice shaky as he confirmed to District Court Judge Tom Copland that he understood the charge against him. Second-degree murder is a Class A felony, and the maximum sentence is life in prison.
Taylor was pale but calm as her charge was updated to first-degree abandonment of a dependant person. It’s a Class B felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a reprieve from the possible life sentence she faced if convicted of the manslaughter charge.
The charge means Taylor allegedly “recklessly abandoned” her daughter, and as a result, the girl suffered great bodily harm.
Taylor’s bail remained at $250,000, although her attorney, Robert Ehrhardt, asked that it be reduced to $125,000.
Copland said it should remain as it was “due to the nature of this (case).”
An Ocean Shores woman found their infant daughter’s body April 5 in the 200 block of Fisher Avenue NE. Taylor told police she gave birth in a motel Thursday because she didn’t want to go to the hospital.
Parnel assisted with the birth and used scissors to cut the umbilical cord as Taylor gave birth while sitting on the toilet. Both said they thought the child was dead, but made no effort to revive her.
Their daughter never had a name. In court, she’s being referred to as “Infant Doe.”
An autopsy was conducted on the newborn girl Sunday morning, Deputy Coroner Lane Youmans said in a statement: “The pathologist concluded that the baby died as a result of skull fractures and brain injuries due to blunt-force injury of the head. The manner of death is homicide.”
Parnel told police he dropped the baby into the toilet where Taylor delivered, and cut the back of her neck with the scissors he used to cut the cord.
According to court documents, Taylor told Parnel to dispose of the body while she waited in their room. He told officers he walked the baby out into the woods and covered the body with brush.
Parnel’s preliminary hearing is set for April 23, and Taylor’s will follow on April 25.
Daily World Reporter Sam Luvisi and North Cost News Editor Angelo Bruscas contributed to this story.