Popular podcaster Taxstone (Daryl Campbell) has been indicted today (July 13th) for the murder of Ronald McPhatter. The high-profile shooting took place last year at a TI concert at Irving Plaza, a concert venue in New York.
Taxstone is a witty, controversial and unfiltered podcaster whose weekly podcast “Tax Season” became extremely popular very shortly after it initially aired. Taxstone utilized his podcast platform to troll and antagonize his adversaries. One of his ongoing feuds was with Brooklyn rapper Troy Ave. The two constantly traded insults on Twitter and Troy Ave. even released an entire diss song directed towards Taxstone.
Police and the district attorney’s office of New York now believe that the online beef spilled onto the streets and ultimately turned deadly. On March 25, 2016, at Irving Plaza, Troy Ave and his friend Ronald McPhatter (aka Banga) were involved in an altercation with an individual now believed to be Taxstone. During a short scuffle McPhatter was shot and killed. Troy Ave. was shot in the leg. Also, Troy can be seen on surveillance video chasing after an individual (now believed to be Taxstone) and attempting to shoot the individual in a packed nightclub.
Shortly after the shooting and murder, Troy was arrested and charged with attempted murder (for indiscriminately shooting in the club) and illegal weapons charges. He eventually made bail and has maintained his innocence. Curiously, Taxstone was arrested seven months later and was charged with federal gun charges in connection with the murder. He pleaded guilty to those charges last month.
For over a year no one was charged with McPhatter’s death. This seemed odd because of all of the individuals present in the room who witnessed the murder. However, today police and the district attorneys feel as if they have enough evidence to charge Taxstone with the killing.
— Lisa Evers (@LisaEvers) July 13, 2017
Under New York criminal law, murder in the second degree is one of several forms of homicide, or conduct which causes the death of a person. Other forms of homicide include first-degree murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and abortion. Pursuant to the statute, a person can commit second-degree murder in five different ways. Here, Taxstone will be charged with the intent to cause the death of another person. If convicted, Taxstone will receive a life sentence in prison.
Taxstone pleaded not guilty during a short hearing today. While Taxstone has yet to offer up a defense to the public, it is likely that he will attempt to claim self-defense in this matter.
Section 35.15 (1) of the New York Penal Code, also known as the defense of justification statute, provides in relevant part:
A person may, subject to the provisions of subdivision two may use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person .
Therefore, Taxstone would have to successfully argue that he reasonably believed that his life was in danger and had to protect himself. Furthermore, Taxstone will not be able to use this defense if he was the aggressor in the matter.
The murder of McPhatter intertwines drama in the Hip-Hop world, podcast community, Twitter and the streets. Therefore, if this matter ends up going to trial, you can bet there will be lots of interest in the outcome. Stay tuned.