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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Abené Clayton in Los Angeles

Rapper Tory Lanez to be sentenced for shooting singer Megan Thee Stallion

Prosecutors have called for Lanez to be sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Prosecutors have called for Lanez to be sentenced to 13 years in prison. Photograph: AP

Musician Tory Lanez was set to be sentenced on Monday for shooting fellow artist Megan Thee Stallion in 2020, but the hearing stretched into a second day on Tuesday.

Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was found guilty in December 2022 of three felonies in the shooting which left Megan Thee Stallion wounded with bullet fragments in her feet.

The sentencing will mark the end of a polarizing three-year saga that played out in court, the artists’ social media and on hip-hop gossip blogs.

Prosecutors had called for Lanez to be sentenced to 13 years in prison for the offense, and what they have described as a subsequent “campaign of misinformation” waged through hip-hop blogs and music meant to decimate Megan Thee Stallion’s credibility. Lanez’s defense team had called for probation and a residential drug treatment program that would help the artist deal with alcoholism, which they say he developed to cope with childhood trauma.

In a written statement that was read during the sentencing hearing, Megan Thee Stallion said said she has suffered daily she was shot. “Since I was viciously shot by the defendant, I have not experienced a single day of peace,” she said. “Slowly but surely, I’m healing and coming back, but I will never be the same.”

She asked that her absence not be taken as a sign of indifference, but said she “simply could not bring myself to be in a room with Tory again.” She urged Judge David Herriford to issue a stiff sentence.

Lanez’s father, Sonstar Peterson, gave an emotional statement about his son losing his mother at age 11. “I don’t think anybody ever gets over that. But his music became his outlet.”

The elder Peterson also apologized to judge Herriford for his impassioned rant outside the courthouse after Lanez was found guilty of the shooting in December. “I want to personally apologize to you,” he told the judge. “It was an overwhelming time.”

Peterson was one of several people who gave statements on Lanez’s character and charitable giving. One of the others was a chaplain for the Los Angeles county jail, where Lanez has awaited sentencing for nearly nine months. The chaplain said that Lanez has led daily prayer groups that have eased tensions in the protective custody unit where he has been held.

Dozens more wrote letters to judge Herriford, including the mother of Lanez’s young son, who spoke of his qualities as a father, and rapper Iggy Azalea, who asked the judge to hand down a sentence that was “transformative, not life-destroying.”

Prosecutors said it began on 12 July 2020, with a small pool party at Kylie Jenner’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, arrived at the home a few hours before Lanez. The pair, along with Kelsey Harris and Lanez’s security guard, left in a Black SUV to drop Megan Thee Stallion and Harris off at the rental home where they were staying.

During the drive an argument broke out between the musicians, prosecutors have said, and Lanez’s bodyguard pulled over on to a quiet street in the hills where Megan Thee Stallion exited the vehicle. As she walked away from the car, the prosecutors said, Lanez pulled out a handgun and fired it toward the ground in her direction.

George Mgdesyan, Lanez’s defense attorney, argued during the trial that Harris was the one who shot Megan Thee Stallion, after Lanez revealed that he and Megan Thee Stallion had been romantically involved.

The incident made headlines and fueled weeks of speculation, but it wasn’t until 20 August 2020 that Megan Thee Stallion said on Instagram Live that Lanez had shot her.

Lanez has maintained his innocence, accusing Megan Thee Stallion of lying about being shot and claiming that her Roc Nation management team was trying to frame him.

Megan Thee Stallion has vehemently denied ever being in a romantic relationship with Lanez, including during a high-profile interview with Gayle King. She did testify that the two had been intimate after bonding over their mothers’ deaths.

During the trial, Megan Thee Stallion told the jury that she lied at first out of embarrassment and that she was disgusted to have “shared her body with someone who would shoot her”.

“I don’t wanna be on this Earth,” she said at one point during a daylong testimony. “I wish he woulda shot and killed me if I knew I would go through this torture.”

The jury deliberated for one day before convicting the 30-year-old Canadian rapper of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.

After the conviction, through the appeals, and now in a 41-page sentencing memo, Lanez has continued to maintain his innocence. His attorneys have argued that Lanez’s alcohol abuse disorder played a factor in his actions.

Megan Thee Stallion has slowly returned to public eye in recent months and hasn’t spoken publicly about Lanez or the shooting since an April interview in Elle Magazine.

“I view myself as a survivor, because I have truly survived the unimaginable. Not only did I survive being shot by someone I trusted and considered a close friend, but I overcame the public humiliation of having my name and reputation dragged through the mud by that individual for the entire world to see,” she told Elle.

Lawyers for Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion did not respond to a request for comment.

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