Mystikal could face life in prison over first-degree rape charge

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Rapper Mystikal (real name Michael Lawrence Tyler) now faces life in prison over an indictment on first-degree rape and domestic violence charges, The New Orleans Advocate reports. The ten charges, upheld in the Ascension Parish court on Tuesday, stem from the alleged July 30 assault of a woman in Prairieville, Louisiana.

Tyler, who first rose to prominence as a musician in the New Orleans area in the early 2000s, was initially arrested on August 2. In addition to the charge of first-degree rape, Tyler, 51, was also charged with simple criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery by strangulation, simple robbery, possession of heroin, illegal possession of Xanax, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of methamphetamine. The drug charges stem from an allegation by the victim stating that Tyler had a white crystalline substance in his home—police officers also reportedly recovered drugs from the house.

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Tyler has twice previously faced sexual assault charges: he pled guilty in 2003 to the assault and extortion of his former hairstylist. For the crime, he served six years in prison and was mandated to enter himself on the sex offender registry in 2010. In 2017, Tyler was again indicted on assault charges stemming from an alleged 2016 incident in Shreveport, Louisiana. Those charges were ultimately dropped in 2020 after “additional evidence and information were discovered,” according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

During a hearing last month, Tyler was denied bail, prompting him to fire his attorney and reconnect with a lawyer who defended him in another sexual assault case back in 2017. The attorney, Joel Pearce, shared a short statement on their legal team’s mindset ahead of the trial.

“It’s an indictment,” Pearce said on Wednesday. “It means nothing. We look forward to our day in court.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.