Tay-K has been sentenced to 55 years in prison after he was convicted of murder and robbery last week. The 19-year-old rapper, born Taymor McIntyre, received a 30-year sentence for one count of aggravated robbery and 13-year sentences on two separate charges of aggravated robbery, all of which will run concurrently.
The conviction relates to a deadly 2016 robbery when Tay-K was 16 that resulted in the death of Ethan Walker, who was 21. Witness testimony stated that Tay-K entered Walker's house in Mansfield, Texas with six others with the intention of stealing drugs and money, but the victim didn't have the items they were searching for. Walker's girlfriend testified that the victim was shot with his hands in the air.
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegraph, Tay-K's lawyers argued that the rapper “only participated in the robbery, was not armed, and had no idea that people would be shot." Latharian Merritt, the man accused of shooting Walker, was sentenced to life in prison last year. All involved were either found guilty or reached plea deals, according to CNN affiliate KTVT.
Tay-K rose to prominence after being placed under house arrest following the incident. His track “The Race” was recorded in 2017 after he removed his ankle bracelet and absconded. The song peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was used as evidence against the rapper during the trial.
According to The Fader, prosecutors referenced the song's video, saying, "It’s in the lyrics. There’s no better insight into this man’s character than that video." The victim's father Richard Walker said Tay-K was "the person who profited off of this and saw this as a career move."
He continued, “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.”