Tay-K’s first murder trial is now complete.
The 19-year-old rapper emerged with the release of his hit song “The Race,” a track about being on the run from the law, which was recorded and had a video shot while Tay-K really was on the run from the law. While on the lam after being accused of involvement in a July 2016 home invasion that ended in a murder, Tay-K (born Taymor McIntyre) is accused of committing the murder of a photographer in San Antonio and an assault on a 65-year-old Texas man. Post-arrest, he got in trouble for forming a gang, and he received an additional felony charge for having a cellphone while locked up.
But it was the very first incident, the home invasion, that entered back into the news on Monday, July 15, when Tay-K’s trial for the alleged crime finally began. Here’s everything you need to know about Tay-K’s Tarrant County murder trial.
What allegedly happened during the home invasion?
According to court testimony and an affidavit given by a woman involved in the incident, here’s what went down:
On July 25, 2016, Megan Holt, Ariana Bharrat, and a third woman headed to Zachary Beloate and Ethan Walker’s house to smoke some pot. Holt had been “romantically involved” with Beolate in the past. The trio intended to rob Beloate, but temporarily called it off because the place was too crowded. Instead, they left the door unlocked, texted a group of people instructing them to “hit a lick,” and male accomplices (including Latharian Merritt, Sean Robinson, Jalen Bell, and, allegedly, McIntyre) allegedly came in and robbed the place. Beloate was shot but managed to get away, and another person who lived at the house was injured. Walker, according to court testimony, was fatally shot while sitting on the ground. Tay-K, said a witness, was upset that he and the others had “popped someone and we only got a little cash and a watch.”
What’s happening with the other defendants?
Facing a capital murder charge in Texas proved to be a very persusasive bargaining chip for the state. Holt and Bharrat agreed to testify against their co-conspirators in exchange for getting that charge waived and being allowed to plead guilty to lesser ones. Holt was sentenced to 20 years, and Bharrat to 25. Robinson pleaded guilty to a murder charge and got 40 years. Bell copped to two counts of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 30 years. There were reports that he could have lessened his time had he cooperated against McIntyre, but he refused. Merritt, who admitted in an interview with police that he was the gunman (“My finger must have been on the trigger, but I don’t remember pulling the trigger,” he said in a videotaped conversation), went to trial and got a life sentence.
What sentence was Tay-K facing?
Because Tay-K was a minor at the time of the crime, he is not, as had been incorrectly stated by celebrities including T.I., eligible for the death penalty. Instead, he faced a possible life sentence without parole.
What did he plead?
Tay-K pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery tied to the robbery of the third, unnamed roommate and Walker’s girlfriend. He pleaded not guilty to capital murder, and to an additional count of aggravated robbery for what happened to Beloate.
What happens after this trial?
Regardless of the outcome of this trial, Tay-K has more legal issues coming. He faces charges related to the San Antonio murder, the assault, and the contraband in prison charge. In addition, the mother of the victim of the San Antonio murder is suing him for a million dollars, and Walker and Beloate’s families are coming after him for the money he’s made off of his music.
Where is Tay-K now?
Tay-K is currently being held in the Tarrant County Lon Evans Correction Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Will Tay-K release more music?
Complex reached out to Tay-K’s manager Ezra Averill and his label head J. Grand to find out about the rapper’s plans for future releases, but we haven’t heard back. Tay-K’s last release was the March 2018 BlocBoy JB collab “Hard.”
When and where was the trial?
The trial took place in Tarrant County, and lasted as long as predicted, about one week. A verdict was delivered on Friday, July 19 (see below), and the sentence came down the following Tuesday.
How did the trial turn out?
On Friday, July 19, Tay-K was found guilty of murder and three counts of aggravated robbery. He was not convicted on capital murder charges.
How much time will he serve?
On Tuesday, Tay-K was sentenced to 55 years in prison for Walker's murder. In addition, he received three additional sentences of 30, 13, and 13 years for the three counts of aggravated robbery. However, because those sentences run concurrently, they will not add any time to the 55 year sentence for murder. The jury took about three hours to decide on a sentence.