The family of a man killed in a Mansfield home invasion and a survivor of the incident filed suit Thursday against Tay-K 47, alleging the rapper boosted his musical career with his violent crime spree, then hid away money from a record deal to keep it out of his victims’ reach.
Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor McIntyre, is among seven people who were charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Ethan Walker and the wounding of his roommate, Zachary Beloate.
The lawsuit was filed in Tarrant County on Thursday by Beloate, Walker’s parents, Richard and Roberta Walker, and on behalf of Walker’s now 5-year-old daughter. The plaintiffs are being represented by attorney Brian Butcher with the Noteboom law firm.
Butcher said the plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Also named as defendants are five of McIntyre’s six alleged accomplices; the record company with which McIntyre signed (88 Classics LLC); Joshua White, the company’s owner; and McIntyre’s independent manager, Ezra Averill.
“The principle behind this case is that people and corporations shouldn’t profit from violent crimes against the innocent,” Butcher said. “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.”
Averill and a representative of 88 Classics did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit was brought under the Texas Wrongful Death and Survival Statutes, as well as the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
McIntyre, 16 at the time of Walker’s death, was one of three juveniles arrested in the case.
The lawsuit describes him as “an aspiring child hip-hop artist” at the time of Walker’s death.
“McIntyre’s music videos depict himself and other children brandishing handguns and behaving like gang members,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit accuses McIntyre of supplying the guns used to shoot Walker and Beloate.
He was placed on home confinement following his arrest and was days away from a certification hearing in the case, when he and another of the accused juveniles, Jalen Bell, cut off their ankle monitors in March 2017 and fled.
While on the loose, officials allege, McIntyre and Bell took part in the April 2017 robbery and fatal shooting of a 23-year-old photographer, Mark Anthony Saldivar, in San Antonio.
The next month, in May 2017, McIntyre allegedly attacked and robbed a 65-year-old man walking along Fish Creek Trail in Arlington’s Cravens Park.
While on the run, McIntyre was still posting on social media. He even released a song titled “The Race” and a music video in which he poses in front of his own wanted poster. He was arrested June 30, 2017, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, after a manhunt by law enforcement.
His high-profile legal woes only seemed to bolster McIntyre’s career. “The Race” peaked at No. 44 in September 2017 on Billboard’s Hot 100 music chart and in January, was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
While in jail, he signed a deal with 88 Classic LLC giving the company all rights to his music.
The lawsuit alleges, “McIntyre was encouraged and/or manipulated by his manager and 88 Classic Records to commit crimes in order to promote sales of his music.”
McIntyre’s earnings — listed at more than $236,000 in other court documents — were placed in an irrevocable spendthrift trust over which White, the owner of 88 Classic Records, was made manager.
The lawsuit also alleges the sale of music rights constituted a “fraudulent conveyance of assets” to avoid claims by creditors, including the lawsuit’s plaintiffs.
“The transfers were made with the intention to defraud creditors and without McIntyre receiving reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfers,” the lawsuit states.
As a result, it states, “Averill (McIntyre’s independent manager), 88 Classic Records and White have profited or stand to profit greatly from McIntyre’s music, while leaving McIntyre with insufficient funds to satisfy the claims of the plaintiffs.”
The Tarrant County lawsuit is the second to be filed against McIntyre.
Last month, Lucia Saldivar, the mother of Mark Anthony Saldivar, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against McIntyre in Bexar County.
Saldivar’s attorney, Mark Bindock, said that on the day of Saldivar’s death, April 23, 2017, a photo shoot had been planned for McIntyre and a female acquaintance, who knew Saldivar.
Bindock says he does not believe that McIntyre knew Saldivar, who was to shoot the photos.
“Driving around in the car, someone gets the idea of, ‘Let’s rob Mark Anthony of his camera equipment,’ ” Bindock said.
Bindock said witnesses saw Saldivar being punched and finally pushed from the car. He said Saldivar jumped onto the car’s hood to try to stop them but was shot by McIntyre as the car stopped in a Chick-fil-A drive-through.
The lawsuit alleges McIntyre and the others fled, “leaving (Saldivar) to die in the street.”
They abandoned their car in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant and were picked up at North Star Mall, remaining on the lam for several months, the lawsuit states.
Lucia Saldivar is seeking more than $1 million, Bindock said.
Status of other suspects
Of the remaining six co-defendants in Walker’s capital murder, two have been convicted.
A girl, 16 at the time of Walker’s death, was sentenced in juvenile court in February to 20 years incarceration. She is the only accomplice who was not named in the lawsuit.
Latharian Merritt, now 24 and the triggerman in Walker’s shooting, was sentenced in May to life in prison.
Sean Robinson, 21, Ariana Bharrat, 22, Megan Holt, 21, and Jalen Bell, 18, remain in the Tarrant County Jail awaiting trial.
Holt has entered into an agreement with prosecutors that they will waive the capital murder charge and allow her to plead guilty to aggravated robbery if she truthfully testifies against all the co-defendants. In exchange, she will receive a 20-year prison sentence, according to the agreement.