Crime

Tay-K sentenced to 55 years in prison for murder of young father during home invasion

Rapper Tay-K 47 was sentenced to 55 years in prison and a $10,000 fine Tuesday for the 2016 murder of a 21-year-old father during a home invasion robbery in Mansfield.

The Tarrant County jury also sentenced Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor McIntyre, to 30 years in prison and a $5,000 fine on one count of aggravated robbery and to 13 years in prison and a $3,000 fine for the remaining two counts of aggravated robbery related to the home invasion.

The sentences will run concurrently.

McIntyre has appealed.

The jury deliberated about three hours before reaching its verdict.

McIntyre was convicted Friday of murder and three aggravated robbery charges related to a 2016 home invasion in Mansfield that left Ethan Walker, 21, dead and his roommate, Zachary Beloate, wounded.

McIntyre, who was 16 when the murder occurred but was later certified to stand trial as an adult, faced five to 99 years or life in prison on each conviction.

He will have to serve at least half of the 55-year prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

After the verdict, Richard Walker, Ethan’s father, took the stand and thanked jurors and State District Judge Wayne Salvant before addressing McIntyre.

“I have tried to live a good life and I know hate is a very negative emotion but right now there are three people I hate,” Richard Walker said. “One is the planner, one is the person who pulled the trigger and one is the person who profited off of this and saw this as a career move.

“Every lyric to ‘The Race’ is stained with my son’s blood. Every ‘free Tay-K’ T-shirt that was ever sold has my son’s blood on it,” he said, referring to the rapper’s platinum hit about his run from authorities.

Walker indicated he believes McIntyre fled to Elizabethtown, New Jersey, because of its close proximity to 88 Classic, the company that signed a label deal with McIntyre after his capture.

He said McIntyre’s actions will forever affect the lives of himself and his wife, Walker’s young daughter, Walker’s girlfriend, and Beloate. Walker’s girlfriend was present when Walker was shot without provocation.

“You’re still here. My son is gone. He’s a box of ashes sitting in my living room,” he told McIntyre.

Walker told McIntyre that beyond the courtroom, “there’s an entire group of unnamed victims here.”

“Those victims are the children — fifth, sixth, seventh grade, high school kids. Those victims are the children who give a criminal celebrity status,” Richard Walker said.

Roberta Walker, Ethan Walker’s mother, told McIntyre she had been running through the timeline of events starting with when her son died alone and in pain.

She remembers looking into the sweet face of Ethan Walker’s then 3-year-old daughter to “tell her about the bad people that made her Daddy go to heaven.”

“Every time we look up it seems like we’re seeing news about the song, seeing praise about the song and seeing you literally dancing on Ethan’s grave,” Roberta Walker said. “But you’ve got enough attention.”

The punishment phase of the trial focused largely on McIntyre’s behavior while in jail awaiting trial and on his alleged involvement in an Arlington robbery that left 65-year-old Skip Pepe severely injured.

The Arlington robbery occurred in May 2017, months after McIntyre cut off his ankle monitor and fled authorities while on house detainment in the Mansfield murder case.

On Monday, defense attorneys called a 21-year-old woman who said McIntyre was with her and friends in Austin on the day of the the Arlington robbery. The attorneys introduced as evidence the receipt from the Airbnb rental home where the woman said they stayed as well as two photographs and a video.

Jeff Kearney, McIntyre’s defense attorney, asked jurors to disregard the Arlington aggravated robbery when determining punishment. He reminded jurors they were only allowed to consider bad conduct or another crime if they believed the state proved those acts beyond any reasonable doubt.

“There is no question that he was robbed, that he was injured, that he was knocked unconscious. We feel terrible about that,” Kearney said regarding Pepe, later adding, “The problem is it wasn’t Taymor.”

Kearney reminded jurors that while Pepe testified Monday he was “100% certain” that McIntyre was the teen who attacked and robbed him, he wrote down that he was only 75% confident when he picked McIntyre out of a photo lineup.

Prosecutor Jim Hudson called into question the credibility of the testimony of the defense witness, questioning why the woman never mentioned the alibi or evidence to authorities so they could validate it.

Kearney told jurors that it was Megan Holt, an accomplice who testified earlier in the trial for the state, who played a major role in the planning and carrying out of the home invasion while McIntyre’s role had been minor.

Holt entered into a plea deal and agreed to testify against her co-conspirators in exchange for 20 years in prison and an aggravated robbery conviction.

“There is no principal reason why Taymor should get one day more than Megan Holt,” Kearney said.

Kearney asked the jurors to give McIntyre, whom he described as extremely talented with music, a sentence where he can see a way out and a way to improve himself and be a performer.

“He has a chance. Let’s not throw him away,” Kearney said. “He is worthy of redemption.”

Hudson said while Holt was cooperating with police and testifying against three accomplices, McIntyre was cutting off his ankle monitor and fleeing authorities and later picked up a new felony by possessing a cellphone in jail.

“He should get more time than Megan Holt,” Hudson said.

Hudson said testimony from seven Tarrant County jailers gave jurors insight into McIntyre’s character.

“In short, we can’t control this guy. We can’t control him when he’s out in the streets and we can’t control him when he’s behind bars,” Hudson said.

McIntyre faces a capital murder charge in Bexar County, where he is accused of in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old photographer in April 2017.

Vassar said after the trial that he was pleased with the sentences.

“He is the most violent teenager I have ever dealt with in over 16 years,” Vassar said.

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