Rapper Tay-K found guilty of murder, faces 5 to 99 years or life

Rapper Tay-K was found guilty of murder Friday for his part in a home invasion robbery that left a 21-year-old father dead and another man wounded.

Jurors also found the 19-year-old guilty of aggravated robbery in the robbery and shooting of Zachary Beloate, who was wounded but survived.

Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor McIntyre, had pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated robbery related to two other victims inside the house.

But McIntyre pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the death of Ethan Walker, 21, and to another count of aggravated robbery related to the shooting of Beloate.

The jury deliberated about four hours over two days before returning its verdict. Had he been convicted of capital murder, he would have automatically been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 40 years.

The trial is continuing to determine McIntyre’s sentencing for the murder conviction and three aggravated robbery convictions. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison on each.

McIntyre’s defense attorneys, Jeff Kearney, Reagan Wynn and Rhett Parham, contended McIntyre only participated in the robbery, was not armed, and had no idea that Walker would be killed by his co-conspirator, Latharian Merritt.

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Ethan Walker, a 21-year-old father, died in July 2016, after he was shot during a botched home invasion robbery. Courtesy/ Walker Family

The sentencing phase began immediately after Friday’s verdict was read.

Several officers with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office testified that McIntyre committed multiple violations while housed in the Lon Evans Corrections Center, the county’s maximum security jail.

According to their testimony, McIntyre cursed and threatened a sergeant, threw his food tray out of his cell, threw wet toilet paper at an inmate with mental problems, and refused to turn over the jail’s phone after his allotted use.

Others testified about finding a hard object tucked in McIntyre’s crotch area while patting down the inmate. They say McIntyre broke away from officers and attempted to flush the item — later determined to be a cellphone and charger — down a toilet.

As a result of the discovery, McIntyre was charged with possessing a prohibited item in a correctional facility.

Jurors also heard testimony that in an interview with jail staff, McIntyre claimed membership with the Long Beach Insane Crips as well as with an Arlington “clique” called the Rugrats — an acronym standing for “ruthless, untamed gangsters wrecking all things.”

The rapper is also charged in a second capital murder case out of Bexar County and an aggravated robbery case in Tarrant County that occurred after McIntyre cut off his ankle monitor and fled while on home arrest for the Mansfield case.

While on the loose, officials allege McIntyre robbed and fatally shot 23-year-old Mark Saldivar at a Chick-fil-A in San Antonio on April 23, 2017.

The next month, he allegedly attacked and robbed 65-year-old Skip Pepe in Arlington’s Cravens Park.

After a national manhunt, McIntyre was captured in New Jersey in June 2017.

Arlington police Officer Dale Horton testified Friday afternoon that he responded to a robbery call at Cravens Park on the morning of May 25, 2016, to find a semi-conscious Pepe being treated by paramedics. The man had injuries to his face, arms and legs, Horton testified.

Horton testified that Pepe couldn’t remember what had happened when asked at the scene but later was more coherent when interviewed at the hospital. Jurors were shown photographs of a blood-covered Pepe, on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace.

Horton described the area of the alleged robbery as isolated with woods on one side and fences on the other with a gap for entering the park.

“Clearly, if there was somebody there to do something, that would be a good place to hide because nobody could see them from the street, nobody could see from the trail,” Horton testified.

The trial will resume Monday morning in Criminal District Court 2.

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