Comparisons between the murder cases of 17-year-old Texas rapper Tay-K and 17-year-old Texas mass-shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis spawned outrage online. So, Okayplayer gathered the facts.
Seventeen-year-old Texas rapper Tay-K is in jail awaiting trial for murder and robbery charges, while 17-year-old mass shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis is in jail for killing 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Texas.
After it was reported that Pagourtzis would not face the death penalty and may be eligible for parole in the future, the information sparked outrage, as people invoked Tay-K’s murder case in contrast. A viral side-by-side image of the teens juxtaposed with bullet points on their capital murder cases spread across social media, catching the attention of fans, critics, and celebrities. The post claims Tay-K is facing the death penalty, while Pagourtzis is not.
Rapper T.I. took to Instagram to proffer his opinion on the assumed double standard writing, “We can’t keep just throwing ours away when they fuc up,while they give they people every consideration possible.” He added, ” how is the D.A. seeking the death penalty for Tay K & not the other guy?”
T.I.’s words reflect the growing sentiment of people in search of the answers as they sift through the facts and misinformation circulating online.
Neither Tay-K nor Dimitrios Pagourtzis have gone to trial for their cases yet, so there are no verdicts. But, until then, here’s a run-down of all you need to know about the context, circumstances, and consequences of each case:
What we know about Tay-K:
- Tay-K, née Taymor Travon McIntyre, is awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in multiple murder cases.
- He was 16 years old when he was allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Ethan Walker.
- He was arrested in June after he removed his ankle monitor and fled Texas while awaiting his certification hearing. He released his viral song, “The Race,” inspired by the fleeing, on the day he made this escape. The song debuted at No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned the rapper support and co-signs from fellow hip-hop artists.
- Tay-K was one of seven people— the three juveniles and four adults— arrested for the home invasion in July of 2016. In February, one of his alleged accomplices in the murder of Walker was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty by a jury on delinquent charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery. One, Megan Holt, reportedly testified against her peers to get the capital murder charges against her waived. The four adults are also awaiting their own trials.
- He is also a suspect in the April robbery and fatal shooting of a 23-year-old man in San Antonio, Texas, and a suspect in the attack and robbery of a 65-year-old man in Arlington, Texas.
- In March, his request for bond was denied by state district judge Wayne Salvant, who cited “The Race” lyrics in his decision.
- In Walker’s case, Tay-K will be standing trial as an adult.
- Tay-K is not facing the death penalty.
What we know about the Texas shooter:
- Dimitrios Pagourtzis gunned down eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Texas this month.
- He surrendered to authorities the same day and, was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.
- According to his Facebook page, he began attending Santa Fe High School in August 2015. Those close to him told CNN he had an interest in guns and violent video games and wore a trench coat to school every day.
- According to a probable cause affidavit signed by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Pagourtzis told officers he dressed in a trench coat and shot multiple people “with the intent of killing people.”
- Pagourtzis confessed that he acted alone in the shooting. Armed with his father’s .38 caliber revolver and shotgun, he killed 10 people and left 13 injured.
- He requested a court-appointed attorney, did not enter a plea, and is being jailed without bond.
- According to the affidavit, the teen waived his Miranda rights during an interview at the Santa Fe Police Department.
- He is on suicide watch at the Galveston County Jail and is being tried as an adult.
- Pagourtzis is not facing the death penalty.
What both cases mean for both teens:
- The Texas Shooter will not receive the death penalty, and neither will Tay-K.
- Both teens are eligible for parole.
- Since 1918, Texas has considered 17-year-olds who commit crimes to be adults. But as it pertains to the death penalty, they are protected under the 2005 Roper Vs. Simmons Supreme Court ruling, which banned the death penalty for juvenile offenders younger than 18 years-old.
- They are additionally protected from mandatory life sentences without parole under the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Miller vs. Alabama, which ruled that the juvenile brain and the adult brain are “categorically different.”
- Texas law stipulates the harshest punishment teens can receive is life with the possibility of parole after 40 years behind bars.
- Under this law, convicted teen prisoners have the right to apply for parole, but it’s not likely they’ll be handed an early release.
Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani