US rapper Tay-K has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for murder, with a platinum-certified hit song he released as a fugitive being included in prosecution evidence.
Taymor McIntyre, 19, was found guilty along with six other men of the killing of Ethan Walker, in Mansfield, Texas, in July 2016. The men had intended to rob Walker and another man of drugs and money and in the subsequent home invasion, Walker was shot dead. His girlfriend testified that he’d had his hands in the air when he was killed.
McIntyre’s lawyers had argued he didn’t fire the lethal shot, and the rapper testified that his job in the robbery had been to find drugs to steal, but he was found guilty of murder as well as three counts of aggravated robbery.
McIntyre’s rap career grew as the infamy of his case brought him to national attention. After being charged with murder, aged 16, McIntyre was placed under house arrest, but in March 2017 he removed his ankle tag and fled, writing on Twitter: “fuck dis house arrest shit … they gn hav 2 catch me”. He made his way north from Texas to New Jersey, where he recorded The Race, a track that boasted of his fugitive status: “Ain’t beat that case, bitch I did the race.”
The track reached No 44 in the US charts, and was remixed by prominent rappers including 21 Savage, Tyga and Lil Yachty. The video has been viewed more than 174m times on YouTube, and the song was certified platinum in January 2018. Prosecutors played the video during the trial, which features McIntyre filmed in front of his own wanted poster, and showed the song’s lyrics to the court.
McIntyre was recaptured in June 2017, and is accused of two further serious crimes committed while on the run: the murder of 23-year-old Mark Saldivar following an altercation in San Antonio, Texas, and the robbery and beating of 65-year-old Owney Pepe in Arlington, Texas.