Crime

Robbery victim says Tay-K ‘nearly killed me.’ Defense says video proves it wasn’t him

Owney “Skip” Pepe was on his routine morning walk through Cravens Park in Arlington when the 65-year-old realized he wasn’t alone.

“I hear a faint voice from behind, ‘Give me your wallet,’” Pepe recalled of that morning on May 25, 2017.

When he turned around, Pepe testified Monday, he saw the teen who was sitting at the defense table, pointing at rapper Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor McIntyre.

“He said, ‘Give me your wallet. I have a gun,’” Pepe said. “I looked over and sure enough he had a gun.”

Pepe testified that McIntyre pointed the gun toward his head. When he tried to walk away quickly and flag down help, he said he was knocked to the ground and remembers trying to break his fall.

“The next thing that came to me was me waking up on a stretcher and being asked questions by the paramedics, covered in blood,” testified Pepe, who said he suffered bleeding on the brain and three fractured ribs in the attack.

But defense attorneys later called a 21-year-old Temple woman and showed jurors two photographs and a video they say prove McIntyre was hours away when the Arlington robbery happened.

Skip Pepe
Skip Pepe, then 65, after he was robbed and attacked on May 25, 2017. Courtesy Barbara Pepe

McIntyre was found guilty Friday of murder and three counts of aggravated robbery in connection with a June 2016 home invasion robbery that left Ethan Walker, 21, dead and his roommate, Zachary Beloate, wounded.

He faces five to 99 years or life in prison on each charge.

McIntyre is charged with aggravated robbery in connection with Pepe’s case, which has not yet gone to trial.

He is also charged with capital murder in Bexar County in the robbery and shooting death of a 23-year-old photographer in the parking lot of a San Antonio restaurant.

Both crimes occurred after McIntyre cut off his ankle monitor and fled while on house arrest in the Mansfield capital murder.

Jurors have not been told about the pending San Antonio case.

After the state rested its case Monday, defense attorneys called only a single witness.

Abby Wesson, 21, testified that she and her boyfriend had rented a home through Airbnb in Austin from May 24 through May 26, 2017, to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday. She said others joined the couple, including McIntyre.

Wesson testified McIntyre rode with her to Austin on the 24th and never left before the group checked out two days later.

Defense attorneys presented two photographs time-stamped on May 25, 2017, the day of the robbery. In one, shown to have been taken at 2:14 a.m., McIntyre is among four people sitting in what appears to be a hot tub.

The second, shown to have been taken at 4:49 p.m., shows a man dressed in a white T-shirt and dark pants in the background. A glare obscures the face of the man but Wesson identified the shoes that the man is wearing as McIntyre’s white and blue Jordans.

Wynn also showed jurors a video that Wesson says was shot between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on May 25, the approximate time of Pepe’s robbery. The video shows McIntyre in the hot tub.

“I know it was in the morning,” Wesson testified. “We had just woke up. We got in the hot tub.”

During cross examination, prosecutor Bill Vassar pointed out that there was no time stamp on the video.

He also pointed out that the woman did not share this information with authorities but only McIntyre’s defense attorneys.

During his testimony Monday, Pepe, now 67, testified he has never taken another walk since the day he was attacked, has been diagnosed with post traumatic disorder, and now spends most of his time at home.

“It’s almost like I’m afraid now to be out unless I’m with a crowd,” Pepe said.

He became visibly angry as defense attorney Reagan Wynn repeatedly questioned whether he was 100% certain that it was McIntyre who robbed him.

“Yes, for the fifth time, yes,” an exasperated Pepe replied.

When later asked multiple questions by Wynn regarding what McIntyre was wearing during the robbery, Pepe got annoyed again. He said he had been focused on his robber’s face, not on what he wore.

“I did everything but take a selfie with that kid,” Pepe said. “This is like a dog and pony show. That’s what this is like. The kid nearly killed me.”

During the tense exchange, Pepe asked whether he or McIntyre was on trial here and told Wynn, “I hope to hell this doesn’t happen to one of your family members one day.”

“I certainly hope one of my family members doesn’t get accused of doing something they didn’t do,” Wynn replied.

Before resting, prosecutors played McIntyre’s rap video, “The Race,” for jurors. The video features McIntyre smoking as he stands near a wanted poster of himself and later dancing while waving around a gun at what appears to be a party. At the end of the video, he is seen getting into a red Corvette and pointing a gun at the camera before riding off.

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 10.21.57 AM.png
A screen shot of Taymor “Tay-K 47” McIntyre, taken from a video released on YouTube, shows the rapper posing in front of a wanted poster of himself.

The video was posted on YouTube on June 30, 2017, the same day McIntyre was captured in New Jersey after a nationwide manhunt.

Copies of the song’s lyrics were distributed to the jury. They include the refrain, “I was tryna beat a case. But I ain’t beat that case, b-----, I did the race.”

The song soon became a hit, rising to No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and later being certified platinum. To date, the video on YouTube has received 174 million views.

Jurors were also shown pictures of McIntyre taken since his incarceration in the Tarrant County Jail.

Prosecutors will determine Tuesday morning whether they’ll call any rebuttal witnesses.

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