Why is Tay-K Serving 55 years To Life in Prison?

Tay-K is currently locked up, and as he faces another murder charge, we're taking a look at his legal woes.

BYJosh Megson
Tougher Sentencing Blamed For Crowded Prisons

Tay-K is best known for his hit song "The Race," which reached No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Later, the track was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The song details Tay-K’s evasion from the police after he was wanted for murder and robbery charges. He was reportedly on the run from the police for three months before he was captured by U.S. marshals on June 30, 2017, the same day "The Race" was released.

After his arrest, many fans took to social media to support the Texas rapper. This led to the release of his mixtape Santana’s World in July 2017. Despite the mixtape receiving many positive reviews, which led to Tay-K gaining even more fame, he remains incarcerated. Let’s look at the events that led to Tay K’s plight and the details behind his 55 years to life sentencing.

Events Leading to Eventual Arrest

In 2017, Tay-K was on the run for allegedly participating in the murder of 21-year-old Ethan Walker during a botched robbery. Walker reportedly put his hands up to surrender but was killed. The robbery was allegedly drug-related, according to authorities. Tay-K was said to be one of six people who participated in the crime. The rapper was 16 years old at the time. In March 2017, Tay-K cut off his house arrest ankle monitor and went on the run for three months.

On March 26, 2017, Tay tweeted, “F*ck dis house arrest sh*t f*ck 12 they gn hav 2 catch me on hood." It was during this time that he recorded "The Race." While on the run, Tay-K also allegedly killed a 23-year-old man during a robbery in San Antonio. He was also accused of assaulting a 65-year-old man during a robbery in Arlington. He was charged for both incidents, but they are still pending.

Tay-K Goes to Trial

It was in 2019 that Tay-K was sentenced for the charges that led to his initial arrest. While on trial, Tay's defense attorney, Jeff Kearney, noted his musical ability and young age as reasons for leniency. Kearney reportedly stated, “He has a chance. Let's not throw him away. He is worthy of redemption." The prosecution’s rebuttal was Tay K’s brash behavior while in and out of custody. They argued that he enjoyed the fame he received after killing Walker and evading the police. The prosecution also used Tay K’s lyrics in "The Race" against him, as the song allegedly showed his lack of remorse. The prosecution also showed the cover of Tay K’s 2017 EP #LivingLikeLarry, which featured him sitting on a kitchen counter with a gun.

The Defense Makes A Case

Defense attorneys also argued that Tay-K was unarmed during the robbery. They further stated he didn't know anyone would be killed. Tay did not pull the trigger during the killing; however, he did steal money and drugs from Walker’s home. Because of this, Tay was found not guilty of capital murder, which carried a mandatory 40-year prison sentence. Yet he was indicted on other charges.
Tay-K pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of murder, one count of aggravated robbery for the shooting, and one count of robbery of another man.

He also pleaded guilty to two additional counts of aggravated robbery related to other victims of the home invasion that led to Ethan Walker’s death. Tay was sentenced to 30 years for one of the robbery counts. Additionally, he received 13 years on each of the other two in July 2019. He was also ordered to pay $21,000 in fines. Tay K is currently serving 55 years to life for the murder charge. He is serving the other charges concurrently, or simultaneously.

Tay-K's Pleas for a Second Chance

In January 2023, Tay-K took to Twitter to ask for a second chance at adulthood. He disagreed with the court's decision to try him as an adult and believed that his sentence was a product of racial bias within the justice system. Tay tweeted, “I bet if I was a lil white kid they wouldn’t have gave me no 55 years for a crime I was alleged to play the most insignificant role in when I was 16….they woulda rightfully argued that my mind wasn’t fully developed and gave me rehabilitation and a 2nd (1st) chance at adulthood.”

Tay-K also noted that one of his accomplices was a 16-year-old white girl who was only sentenced to 10 years of probation. "One of my codefendants was a white girl who was 16 jus like me," he wrote. "They didn’t certify her as an adult but they certified me n pimp as adults. pimp got 30, I got 55, she ended up getting 10 years of probation without no deal…that girl @ home rn.” Despite Tay-K’s pleas, it is uncertain if the young rapper will soon see freedom. He is also still awaiting trial in San Antonio for the alleged murder while on the run.

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