NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A senseless killing that involved five juvenile suspects that shook the Nashville community to its core still weighs heavy on the hearts and minds of the families forever changed two years later.
Melissa Negley remembers her brother, 24-year-old Belmont graduate, Kyle Yorlets.
“He would go up to random strangers and introduce himself; sit down and have casual conversations with everyone,” Negley said. “He lit up the room, like everyone said, huge smile, very religious, always talking about Jesus or God, literally loved everybody.”
Yorlets, the lead singer of the former band Carverton, was shot dead in the alley behind his home in Nashville February of 2019.
“He created his second family down there and despite everything that happened, I know that if he was still here, he’d be like, ‘I’d still live there.’ He loved Nashville,” Negley said.
But the city where he moved to pursue his dreams in the music industry is where those dreams were cut short. Five juveniles, ages 12 to 16, have been charged in Yorlets’ murder.
“We did not realize how unsafe Nashville was until this happened,” Negley said. “You look up statistics, and it’s absolutely terrifying.”
Criminal homicides in Metro Nashville were up more than 35% from 2019 to 2020. The minors arrested in Yorlets’ murder were found with guns that had been stolen from vehicles.
“I feel like this world definitely fails children and adults, honestly. There is so much bad and so much wrong in this world,” Negley said. “Those guns shouldn’t have been made available to children.”
When it comes to kids and violent crimes, there are some encouraging numbers. In Metro Nashville, homicide charges for juveniles dropped more than 68% from 2019 to 2020 and aggravated robbery charges were down 60%.
“I’m hoping that in some way all those kids, including the younger children, can get some kind of rehabilitation and become strong young adults later in life,” Negley said. “They were clearly on the wrong path. I know if Kyle was here, he would find a way to forgive them and would want them to get on the right path.”
Negley said through her brother’s death, her family has become strong and united. They have also awarded scholarships at Yorlets’ high school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, so students can carry on his legacy by pursuing their passion for music.
Two of the teens in this case will be tried as adults, each charged with first degree murder in connection with Yorlets’ death.