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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Abené Clayton and agencies

Sentencing in Megan Thee Stallion shooting stretches into second day

Tory Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion
Tory Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion, who was shot in July 2020. Photograph: AP

The sentencing hearing for the musician Tory Lanez will stretch into a second day on Tuesday, as the artist was set to be sentenced for shooting the fellow artist Megan Thee Stallion in 2020.

Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was found guilty in December 2022 of the shooting that left his fellow artist injured in the foot.

Prosecutors had called for the 30-year-old Canadian rapper to be sentenced to 13 years in prison. 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 on Monday, Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, said she has suffered daily since 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 during the hearing 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 the age of 11. “I don’t think anybody ever gets over that. But his music became his outlet.”

Among other people testifying 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. Others wrote letters to Herriford, including the mother of Lanez’s young son.

The judge said Lanez’s son, who is six years old, also sent in a handwritten letter, but Herriford did not describe it further.

Herriford made findings in favor of each side Monday, leaving little indication of what sentence he will give.

He found that Megan was an especially vulnerable victim when she was shot, but that Lanez was not especially cruel or callous in firing at her, legal factors that could influence his decision.

Herriford said that he will consider Lanez’s charitable giving and glowing statements made about him as a pillar of his family and community.

But the judge also said he would consider what prosecutors called attempts by Lanez, through social media posts and in song lyrics, to intimidate Megan and to cast doubt on whether she was shot at all.

Herriford said Lanez also had a clear lack of remorse, but said he will not allow that to be a factor because the rapper has a right to maintain his innocence.

The sentencing will mark the end of a polarizing three-year saga. On the night of 12 July 2020, Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion left the home of Kylie Jenner in the Hollywood Hills, alongside Kelsey Harris and Lanez’s security guard.

Prosecutors say an argument broke out between the musicians during the drive, and the shooting left Megan Thee Stallion with injuries in the foot. More than a month later, on 20 August, 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. George Mgdesyan, Lanez’s defense attorney, argued during the trial that Harris was the one who shot Megan Thee Stallion after hearing Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion were in a relationship.

Megan Thee Stallion has vehemently denied ever being in a romantic relationship with Lanez. 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.

The jury deliberated for one day before convicting Lanez of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.

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

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