Tay-K witnessed a shooting that led to the death of a young woman months before having his own legal woes. Tay-K, then 15, was a passenger during a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2016 that killed 21-year-old University of North Texas student Sara Mutschlechner (MUCH’-lehk-nur).
Santana Sage, born Eric Johnson, was charged with Sara’s murder and sentenced to 44 years in prison after he was found guilty earlier this month. Santana will be eligible for parole in 22 years, the Star-Telegram reports.
Santana admitted to being under the influence of Xanax – a prescription drug used to treat anxiety – during the shooting. Santana said two to three pills were provided to him by DJ Denis McInerny at a New Year’s Eve Party, according to Denton Record-Chronicle.
Santana performed at the New Year’s Eve Party with Tay-K and PimpyZ. Tay-K and PimpyZ comprise rap duo Daytona Boyz. Sara and her friends were also in attendance at the party.
Photos and video of Santana, Tay-K and PimpyZ performing at the party surfaced on the net.
— DailyOoze (@TheDailyOoze) January 2, 2016
Santana had five passengers in his vehicle when they left the party and pulled alongside Sara’s black sedan. Santana’s crew was accused of making sexual remarks to Sara and her friend. Adrian Arthur, a 22-year-old witness and passenger, testified that everyone in Santana’s car was under the influence of Xanax, the Denton Record-Chronicle reports.
Santana’s attorney, Bruce Isaacks, reasoned Xanax impaired his client’s judgment the night of the shooting.
Isaaks hoped for a manslaughter conviction, arguing the fatal shooting was a mistake, as Santana only meant to fire warning shots to scare off the group, according to Dallas News.
Arthur testified everyone in the car was shocked when Johnson pulled the gun. He said Santana regretted shooting the weapon moments after the incident.
“He said he messed up and he didn’t want that to happen,” Arthur said.
Sara’s friends said they saw Santana holding a gun before firing two shots at their vehicle.
Sara was shot in the head, and crashed her car into another vehicle and an electrical pole.
Denton police just released this picture of 20-yr-old Sara Mutschlechner's car. She was shot while driving this a.m. pic.twitter.com/Vl7J1VRMbn
— Jason Allen (@CBS11JasonAllen) January 1, 2016
Santana’s mother Sheryl Wells testified she noticed something abnormal about her son when he returned a damaged car to her later that afternoon. She questioned whether he was drunk or on drugs.
“It wasn’t the Eric I was used to seeing,” she said, according Denton Record-Chronicle.