D.A. Bragg Announces Prison Sentences In Murder Of Harlem Rapper Pressie Taylor Jr.

September 8, 2023

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., today announced the sentencing of Chester Taylor, 37, and Darius Hastings, 37, to 20 years to life in state prison.

They are their for shooting 26-year-old aspiring rapper Pressie Taylor Jr., “ASAP Press,” in the head in Harlem in 2016.

The head injury caused Mr. Taylor Jr. to have a fatal seizure approximately a year and a half later. On February 9, 2023, a New York State Supreme Court jury found Chester Taylor and Darius Hastings each guilty of one count of Murder in the Second Degree, one count of Assault in the First Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.

“Chester Taylor and Darius Hastings shot and killed a young Harlemite with great ambitions, talent and a bright future,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Although Pressie Taylor Jr. miraculously survived the shooting in its initial aftermath, his life was forever changed. He made a valiant attempt at resuming his life and music career, but unfortunately, he succumbed to the effects of his serious injuries, depriving his family and community of a promising star. Thanks to the jury’s careful review of the evidence, both defendants were found to be responsible for his murder, and I hope that the sentences imposed today bring the victim’s family some form of peace.” 

As proven at trial, Pressie Taylor Jr. was a member of a Harlem-based hip-hop group. On July 30, 2016, he contacted TAYLOR through a mutual friend to rent a luxury car for a music video he was filming. TAYLOR, who ran an illegal car rental business through Instagram, offered two cars to Mr. Taylor Jr. for $1,000. On August 5, 2016, Mr. Taylor Jr. paid TAYLOR most of the rental fee upfront, but TAYLOR failed to produce any cars for the video shoot.

On multiple occasions, Mr. Taylor Jr. asked that his money be returned, but TAYLOR refused.

On August 28, 2016, TAYLOR, grew irritated with Mr. Taylor Jr.’s demands and threatened him through back-and-forth text exchanges. He called his longtime friend HASTINGS and drove to Mr. Taylor Jr.’s block in Harlem. HASTINGS shot at Mr. Taylor Jr., hitting him in the back of the head. He initially survived the shooting.

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In March 2018, Mr. Taylor Jr. suffered a fatal seizure while attending a music festival in Houston, Texas. The medical examiner attributed the seizure to his 2016 head injury.

Assistant D.A.s Meghan Hast and Jon Veiga (Deputy Chiefs of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit) handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Christopher Prevost (Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit) and Executive Assistant D.A. Lisa DelPizzo (Chief of the Trial Division). Investigative Analysts Patrick Sullivan and Jonathan Diver, and former Investigative Analyst Vanessa Reider all assisted with the prosecution of the case.

District Attorney Bragg thanked the 32nd Precinct Detective Squad, especially now-retired Detective Christopher Killen.

Photo credit: Bragg.

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