Fort Worth, TX – Tay-K’s capital murder trial got underway in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday (July 16) according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The day before the trial began, Tay-K pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery by threats in connection with the 2016 robbery of Ethan Walker’s girlfriend and another man inside the Mansfield home.
Walker was shot in the stomach during the botched home invasion and later died.
Authorities are still trying to determine if Tay-K anticipated or should have anticipated a murder would be committed when he participated in the robbery.
Tay-K has also pleaded not guilty to capital murder and to a separate count of aggravated robbery for the robbery and shooting of Walker’s roommate, Zachary Beloate. Beloate was shot in the shoulder during the robbery.
One of Tay-K’s three defense attorneys, Jeff Kearney, told jurors in opening statements Tuesday morning that “Tay agreed to participate in a robbery. Tay participated in a robbery.”
Kearney pointed out he’s already “accepted responsibility” for the robbery through his plea. He added the evidence won’t support Tay-K thought Latharian Merritt “was going to go in and intentionally kill for no reason, intentionally kill Ethan Walker.”
The now 19-year-old is one of seven defendants — three juveniles and four adults — accused in the robbery and fatal shooting. Although Tay-K was only 16 when the incident occurred, he was certified to stand trial as an adult.
The once-burgeoning rapper is also charged in a second capital murder case out of Bexar County and an aggravated robbery case in Tarrant County that occurred while he was on the run.
Officials allege he robbed and fatally shot 23-year-old Mark Saldivar at a Chick-fil-A in San Antonio in April 2017. The following month, he allegedly attacked and robbed 65-year-old Skip Pepe who was walking along Fish Creek Trail in Arlington’s Cravens Park at the time.
Tay-K was ultimately taken into custody in New Jersey in June 2017. Since his incarceration, he allegedly started a “Rug-Rats” jail gang and was charged with possessing a cellphone inside a correctional facility.
The capital murder trial is to continue at least through this week.