A stolen gun led to the killing of 15-year-old Trinity Gay — daughter of Olympian Tyson Gay — who was a bystander when five or six weapons were fired in the Cook Out Restaurant parking lot on Harrodsburg Road in 2016, Lexington’s top prosecutor said Tuesday.
The opening statement of Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn began the trial Tuesday of Chazerae Me’Lon Taylor Sr., 40, who is charged with murder and wanton endangerment. Also on trial are his son, D’Markeo Taylor, 21; Lamonte Williams, 22; and D’Vonta Middlebrooks, 23, who were charged with wanton endangerment. Middlebrooks also was charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun.
Trinity was struck in the neck when two groups exchanged gunfire before 4 a.m. Oct. 16. She died shortly after at a hospital.
Chazerae Taylor, D’Markeo Taylor and Williams went to Cook Out to recover a gun that was stolen earlier, Red Corn said.
“All hell broke loose” in the parking lot when Chazerae Taylor fired a gun, Red Corn said. Others began shooting, and Trinity was hit.
Five or six weapons were fired in the Cook Out parking lot, Red Corn said. The bullet that hit Trinity Gay was found in the parking lot. It was among five bullets and 20 shell casings collected by police.
Chazerae Taylor “created a circumstance that led to others pulling out their weapons and firing,” Red Corn said. Kentucky law allows for a conviction of murder as a wanton act. That is defined as “manifesting extreme indifference to human life” by engaging in conduct that “creates a grave risk of death to another person.”
The younger Taylor, D’Markeo, was a friend of Trinity’s and the girl was often in the Taylor house, Rodney Barnes, attorney for Chazerae “Chaz” Taylor, told the jurors.
When D’Markeo Taylor and a friend were robbed, D’Markeo called his father, Chaz, who went to Cook Out, Barnes said.
Chaz “wasn’t going down there to wave guns in people’s faces,” Barnes said in his opening argument.
D’Markeo “Keo” Taylor saw Trinity Gay in the parking lot and told her to go into a Waffle House, next door to Cook Out, because “something was about to happen,” said his attorney Adele Burt Brown.
Chaz heard a shot but saw only a crowd of people, Barnes said, so he pulled a gun and fired two shots into the air to disperse the crowd, Barnes said. Chaz didn’t know Trinity Gay was present.
Lamonte Williams fired three shots into the air, Barnes said.
“You’re going to find that, at the end of the day, that, no, Chaz did not kill Trinity,” Barnes said.
The attorneys for the Taylors, Williams and Middlebrooks told jurors their clients did not expose others at the scene to the risk of injury from gunfire.
“There aren’t going to be any winners regardless of what you decide,” Williams’ attorney Abe Mashni told the jury.
Middlebrooks did not take a gun to the scene but picked up a revolver on the ground when the shooting started to defend himself, his attorney Gregg Clendenin Jr. said. He did not interact with the Taylors or Williams and never fired in the direction of the Cook Out restaurant where Trinity was.
Tyson Gay sat in the courtroom gallery during Tuesday’s opening day of testimony. He kept his eyes down as photos of his daughter’s body were displayed to the jury during Red Corn’s opening statement.
Trinity’s mother, Shoshana Boyd, was the first prosecution witness. She said Trinity, who ran track, hoped to one day earn an Olympic gold medal for her father.
Morgan Gaines and Taylor Middleton, two people who knew Trinity, said they all had attended a party in Lexington but left it after shots were fired there. They then went to the parking lot of Cook Out, where others from the party had gathered.
Gaines was sitting in her Honda Accord when she heard shots at Cook Out. She heard Trinity say “I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!”
Middleton said she and Trinity were standing outside the Gaines car when shots began. Middleton said she got behind the trunk of the Gaines car and heard Trinity say “I’m shot! Taylor, help me!”
The wounded and bleeding Trinity was driven by friends to nearby St. Joseph Hospital first; she was later transferred to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. She went “pulseless” in the ambulance to UK, said firefighter Christopher Mulberry.
UK trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Tucker said the hospital’s emergency room personnel were never able to get a “sustainable heartbeat.”
Testimony resumes at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday before Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone.