No matter how much the social media rumor spreads that the two 17-year-old murder suspects are being treated differently by the justice system, this one just isn't true.
Rapper T.I. and other influencers fanned the flames on social media Monday and Tuesday wondering why Tay-K, who was 16 when police say he committed two murders, could face the death penalty in his cases when Pagourtzis would not, after the Santa Fe High school shooting last week.
Their answer? Race.
"We must start standing by ours the same way they stand by theirs," T.I. write in posts on Facebook and Instagram. "Hold every last one of us as Americans to the same standards no matter the color of their skin."
T.I. has a combined following of more than 28 million on the two platforms
The only problem, though, is this specific example of a perceived racial double-standard in law enforcement just plain isn't there. It doesn't exist because McIntyre would not face the death penalty if he is convicted in either capital murder case in which he is a suspect.
But that didn't stop outlets like XXL from running with the rapper's erroneous claim in defense of the younger rapper.
The 2005 Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons decided that teens younger than 18 at the time of their offense are ineligible for the death penalty. Giving teens younger than 18 the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the court under the eighth amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.
McIntyre was 16 at the time of the two murders — one in Mansfield, Texas and the other in San Antonio — in which he is a suspect. He is now 17, as is Pagourtzis.
Both have been certified to stand trial as adults, but that happens at the state level. If a suspect is at least 14 and they are suspected of committing a capital crime in Texas, they can be certified to stand trial as an adult, which in legal terms means that the juvenile system holding them gives up its jurisdiction in the case.
Usually that gives the state the option of harsher sentences. But the Supreme Court decision supersedes the expansion of maximum sentencing options, taking the death penalty off the table in all cases like either of the two being compared on social media.