Nineteen-year-old Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor McIntyre, famously went on the run in 2017 after being placed on house arrest for the murder in question, cutting his ankle monitor and fleeing.
“f*** dis house arrest s***" he posted on Twitter at the time. "... they gn hav 2 catch me."
During that time, McIntyre released the music video "The Race," in which he talks about a shooting and going on the run. “Ain’t beat that case / b**** I did the race," he raps in the track. The video also shows him standing next to his own wanted poster.
The video, which has amassed nearly 174 million views on YouTube, was used as evidence during the sentencing phase of the trial, according to The Guardian. McIntyre was recaptured in New Jersey three months after he initially fled.
At just 16, McIntyre was charged with murder after a 2016 robbery that left a 21-year-old father, Ethan Walker, dead. Though McIntyre did not pull the trigger himself, prosecutors argued he was just as guilty as the others involved.
McIntyre's attorney, Jeff Kearney, however, disputed that. “It wasn’t part of the plan. The robbery was. Not killing," he told jurors.
The other defendants either reached plea deals or were found guilty in the case.
In addition to the 55 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for Walker's murder, McIntyre was sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for a count of aggravated robbery, as well as 13 years and a $3,000 fine for two others counts of aggravated robbery. The sentences will run concurrently and McIntyre will have to serve at least half of the 55-year sentence before he could become eligible for parole.
On Tuesday, Walker's father, Richard Walker, thanked the jury and blasted McIntyre's song and his supporters.
“Every lyric to ‘The Race’ is stained with my son’s blood," he said. "Every ‘free Tay-K’ T-shirt that was ever sold has my son’s blood on it."
To McIntyre, he added, "You’re still here. My son is gone. He’s a box of ashes sitting in my living room."