Mystikal, a Grammy-nominated rapper raised in New Orleans, Louisiana who rose to fame in the early 2000s, has been indicted on a charge of first-degree rape over an alleged July 30 attack at his home in Prairieville and now faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted at trial.
The Ascension Parish grand jury handed up the rape charge and nine other criminal counts Tuesday in Gonzales against Mystikal, whose given name is Michael Lawrence Tyler.
Tyler has also been charged with single counts of simple criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery by strangulation, simple robbery, possession of heroin, illegal possession of Xanax, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, two indictments against him say.
The victim told investigators that she was visiting the rapper’s home when he beat her and forcibly raped her. During the encounter, the woman also claims Tyler took her phone and car keys and refused to let her leave.
Arrest records said Tyler eventually let the woman leave after he used the victim’s phone, and her bank account, to send himself $150.
Tyler has a history of prior sexual misconduct allegations dating back over the past two decades, including a conviction from 2004 that forced him to register as a sex offender.
Since a bail hearing last month, Tyler has disavowed that attorney and hired others, including a Shreveport lawyer who represented him over 2017 rape accusations for which prosecutors later dropped the charges and freeing him then from an 18-month imprisonment.
“It’s an indictment,” Joel Pearce, the attorney, said on Wednesday. “It means nothing. We look forward to our day in court.”
When he appeared in court last month seeking to get Tyler bail, the previous attorney, Roy Maughan Jr., pointed out that an Ascension sheriff’s detective acknowledged Tyler’s accuser had been in a longstanding relationship with him at least since the late 1990s. He had never before been accused of attacking her, Maughan said.
But Judge Steven Tureau of the 23rd Judicial District Court wasn’t convinced and held Tyler without bail.
Pearce, the new lawyer, has been trying to have a hearing to reconsider the bail ruling, but one hasn’t been set yet.
Pearce also wanted a special pre-trial hearing to examine some of the prosecutors’ case.
After the indictment, it may be harder for Pearce to get that second hearing, known as a preliminary exam, because it performs similar functions as the grand jury process does.
During a grand jury proceeding, a panel of local residents hears testimony in secret and decides whether law enforcement’s case against a defendant meets a minimum threshold to continue.
With the indictment against Tyler on Tuesday, the grand jury has concluded authorities met that minimum level of “probable cause.”
For conviction, a trial jury will have to decide prosecutors met the much tougher standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In a warrant, Ascension sheriff’s deputies have accused Tyler of attacking the woman in a violent encounter the night of July 30, during which he took her car keys and held her against her will, raped and strangled her, and, at one point, prayed with her to remove her “bad spirits.”
The drug charges stem from narcotics found in Tyler’s home after his arrest and claims from the victim that she had seen a white crystalline substance in the home.
The drug charges and the rape and other assault charges were handed up through two separate indictments on the same day.
Tyler is a lifetime registered sex offender after his 2003 conviction for sexual assault and extortion.
He has had several other arrests since the mid-1990s for marijuana possession, misdemeanor domestic violence and first-degree rape, but none has led to a conviction.