Natchitoches Parish Public Defender and Shreveport/Many attorney Verity Gentry announced that Michael Tyler of New Orleans, better known as Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal, has been cleared of first degree rape and second degree kidnapping charges by a Caddo Parish grand jury. If convicted of rape, Tyler would have faced a mandatory life sentence.
“I am thankful to the Caddo District Attorney for re-presenting my case to the grand jury. I have maintained my innocence from day one and was confident the truth would come to light,” Tyler said. “I am also thankful for my legal team – Verity Gentry, Joel Pearce and Timothy Yazbeck for their work on my case. I look forward to getting back to work, making music and performing,” the rapper shared.
The Caddo Parish District Attorney announced Thursday, Dec. 17, it had re-presented the case to a grand jury, and the grand jury declined to indict Tyler on the offenses. Based on the jury’s decision, the Caddo DA intends to dismiss charges against the rapper.
Gentry, Pearce and Yazbeck worked diligently to prove Tyler’s innocence after he was arrested in 2017 and his case was presented to a grand jury. The alleged incident took place in October 2016 while Tyler was in Shreveport to present a rap concert.
A woman claimed that after spending time together earlier in the evening, Mystikal and another rapper lured her to a Shreveport casino hotel room with a date rape drug and then raped her.
“I looked at the sexual assault exam lab results of her blood and urine,” Gentry explained, “Nobody had really studied those. After making some important discoveries, I sent the lab results to an expert to double check what it looked like to me.”
The expert confirmed Gentry’s findings. The lab results totally undermined the claim of a date rape drug being used. In her allegations, the woman never claimed verbal non-consent, so the issue of whether she was able to consent or not rested on her story of having been drugged.
Luckily for Tyler and his defense team, casinos are heavily blanketed with video surveillance of their patrons.
“The alleged victim said she was given a drink in a Styrofoam cup and she didn’t know what was in it. Casino hotel lobby video footage showed the woman drinking from that Styrofoam cup,” Gentry explained. “Thank God, the cup was later taken into evidence and its contents saved.”
Further, to explain the presence of cocaine in her system, the woman had also claimed she was given a hand rolled cigar to smoke and said it must have contained cocaine.
The expert’s conclusion that the alleged victim was not under the influence of any date rape drug at the time of the alleged offense is what led the state to test evidence from the hotel room where the woman claimed assault. After testing the contents of cups and hand rolled cigar butts, all turned up negative for the presence of any illegal substances, including any date rape drugs.
“When the cigarette butts in the hotel room were content-tested, they all came back negative for anything except tobacco,” Gentry stated.
Tyler and his legal team were extremely pleased with the outcome of his vigorous defense.
“I appreciate, more than I can say, the District Attorney’s office being totally committed to finding the truth – wherever that might lead – and making sure justice prevailed,” Gentry said.
Pictured above: Rapper Mystikal, Michael Tyler, right, and Attorney Verity Gentry