19-year-old Texas rapper Tay-K has been found guilty of murder and aggravated robbery. He previously pleaded guilty to two other counts of aggravated robbery related to the same incident. In total, he faces five to 99 years in prison.
Update – July 23rd: Tay-K has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for murder. Additionally, he’s received a 30-year prison sentence for aggravated robbery and two 13-year sentences for the two previous counts of aggravated robbery. The sentences will be served concurrently.
As the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports, Tay-K, born Taymor McIntyre, participated in a July 2016 home invasion in Mansfield, TX. During the robbery, 21-year-old Ethan Walker was shot and killed by one of McIntyre’s associates, Latharian Merritt. A second man, Zachary Beloate, was shot but survived. Merritt pleaded guilty to the murder of Walker and was sentenced to life in prison. Sean Robinson, the individual who is accused of shooting Beloate, also pled guilty to murder in November and received a 40-year sentence.
McIntyre was arrested shortly after the robbery and placed on house arrest with an ankle monitor. His infamous and short career as a rapper began when he cut off the monitor and went on the run in 2017. On June 30th of that year, he released the music video for his single “The Race”, which saw him waving a gun and bragging about committing crimes in front of his actual wanted poster. That same day, following a nation-wide manhunt, he was apprehended by US Marshals in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Back in custody, McIntyre pleaded not guilty to capital murder and the third aggravated robbery charge. His attorneys argued that because he was unarmed at the time of the robbery, he was not responsible for the death of Walker or the shooting of Beloate. Prosecutors convinced the jury that since McIntyre knew others in his group known to be “trigger-happy” were carrying guns, he was culpable for their actions.
McIntyre was found not guilty of the more serious capital murder charge, which would have carried a mandatory 40-year prison sentence. However, he still faces a separate capital murder case in Bexar County. Officials say that while on the lam from house arrest, McIntyre shot and killed 23-year-old Mark Anthony Saldivar after stealing his photography gear. During that same period, McIntyre allegedly beat and robbed 65-year-old Owney “Skip” Pepe, leaving “him for dead in the woods.” Pepe and his wife, Barbara, have filed a lawsuit against McIntyre.
Walker’s parents and Beloate are also suing Tay-K and his label, 88 Classics, for over $1 million in damages due to the success of “The Race”. Explaining the case to the Star-Telegram, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Brian Butcher said,
“The principle behind this case is that people and corporations shouldn’t profit from violent crimes against the innocent. Taymor McIntyre became a threat to society, possibly with the encouragement of others, in order to promote sales of his music. I want those sales to compensate his victims, not to enrich a record company that supports a child thug.”