Tay-K’s friend, Santana Sage, is currently sitting behind bars for the shooting death of 21-year-old University of North Texas student Sara Mutschlechner (MUCH’-lehk-nur) on New Year’s Day 2016.
Santana Sage, born Eric Johnson, was sentenced to 44 years in prison after he was found guilty of Sara’s murder in August. Santana will be eligible for parole in 22 years, the Star-Telegram reports.
Santana told a courtroom during his trial he fired his gun in self-defense. He testified a passenger in Sara’s car, 24-year-old Cory Perry, called him a racial slur and threatened to shoot him.
“Either [Tay-K] or [Pimpyz] had said, ‘I’m trying to get [messed] up,’” Santana said during testimony, according to Denton Record-Chronicle. “I guess that [Perry] may have misconstrued what he said, and I guess that’s when he got angry. [Perry] started calling us different terms and [racial] slurs.”
Perry and front passenger Alexis Mueller testified no one used racial slurs in Sara’s car.
Prosecuting attorney Tony Paul echoed Perry and Alexis’ statement saying Santana never said anything about racial slurs when first interviewed by police after his arrest on Jan. 5, 2016.
Perry said the conversation escalated after one of the people in Santana’s back seat was disrespectful toward the women in Sara’s car after saying sexual comments.
Sara shot down Johnson and friends’ advances, telling the entourage their comments were rude. One of Santana’s passengers allegedly told Perry he would “beat him up.”
Santana said he saw Perry “leaning towards something.”
Santana said he told Perry to “chill out,” and that Perry had said “do you want to get shot?”
A forensic investigator and Denton police Detective Eric Beckwith testified no weapons were found in Sara’s car.
“That’s when I pulled out my pistol and displayed it,” Johnson said, according to the North Texas Daily. “I was trying to diffuse the situation.”
Johnson said he was only “trying to scare them off,” and that he had tried to shoot above Sara’s vehicle.
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 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 had five passengers in his vehicle when they left the party and pulled alongside Sara’s black sedan. 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.
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.
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