Breaking News

Tory Lanez sentenced to 10 years in state prison in shooting of Megan Thee Stallion

Canadian hip-hop artist Tory Lanez was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for shooting Megan Thee Stallion after an alcohol-fueled argument in the Hollywood Hills in 2020.

Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was convicted of assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm and negligent discharge of a gun last December after a dramatic trial that featured tearful testimony from Megan Thee Stallion and a key witness requesting immunity shortly before stonewalling prosecutors on the stand.

He faced a maximum of 22 years and 8 months in prison. Peterson, who did not testify at his trial or sentencing, has denied all wrongdoing. Despite hours of testimony and evidence poured in from Peterson’s legal team highlighting his commitment to charity, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Herriford said that “unfortunately sometimes good people do bad things.”

“Mr. Peterson’s actions in those few seconds changed many lives,” Herriford said of the shooting.

Prosecutors initially asked Herriford to sentence Peterson to 13 years in prison. Peterson’s lawyers sought probation, arguing Peterson had been greatly affected by his mother’s sudden death when he as a child, grief which led him to abuse alcohol. His attorneys argued Monday that Peterson’s alcoholism played a role in the shooting, which followed a hard-drinking party.

Peterson’s legal team went through a post-trial shuffle and is now spearheaded by Florida attorney Jose Baez, who, successfully defended Casey Anthony in a nationally-watched trial in which she was accused of murdering her young daughter.

In court papers, Baez and attorney Matthew Barhoma cited the evaluation of an independent psychologist, who said Peterson was at low-risk to re-offend if he stayed sober.

In court Monday, several witnesses spoke to Peterson’s history of charity work and religious beliefs. His father, Sonstar Peterson, tearfully recounted his wife’s sudden death and swore that, if released, his son would be even “more of a credit to the community” after his trip through the legal system.

Herriford said 76 letters had been submitted in support of Peterson, including some from former law enforcement officials in San Diego, Torrance and as far away as Missouri. Rapper Iggy Azaela also filed a letter asking Herriford to hand down a “sentence that is transformative, not life destroying,” to Peterson.

The letters also caused Herriford to raise an eyebrow at Peterson’s claims of being affected by alcoholism, however. He asked Baez and Barhoma to explain how the rapper’s addiction issues could go unmentioned in 76 written correspondences about his life and throughout the testimony of six character witnesses.

Peterson was convicted of a pair of sentencing enhancements related to the use of a gun in a violent crime and the fact that he caused “great bodily injury” to Megan Thee Stallion — born Megan Pete — making him ineligible for probation under California law.

The shooting happened after the superstar Houston rapper left a party at Kylie Jenner’s home in an SUV alongside Peterson, his driver and her then-close friend, Kelsey Harris.

Pete said an argument erupted after Peterson revealed to Harris that the two rappers had become romantically involved. Harris had previously been involved with Peterson and became angry, Pete said. At trial, Pete said she demanded to be let out of the vehicle on Nichols Canyon Road.

But as she walked away, prosecutors allege, Peterson shouted, “Dance, b—!” before firing a volley of gunshots at Pete. Pete was struck several times in the feet and had to undergo surgery to remove bullet fragments.

In the seconds after the shooting, prosecutors and Pete contended that Peterson begged both women not to report him to police and offered them $1 million for their silence. Peterson denies both claims.

Los Angeles police stopped the vehicle in Hollywood a short time later and arrested Peterson on suspicion of illegal weapons possession. Dramatic video later emerged of a wounded and crying Pete limping out of the car, falling to the ground shortly before she was detained by police.

The “WAP” rapper did not report the shooting to investigators for several days, instead insisting she stepped on broken glass. Although Pete has since testified that she was afraid to cooperate in part due to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that summer, Peterson’s defense seized on her delayed reporting as a sign her version of events was unreliable.

Pete did not appear in court Monday, but Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathy Ta read an impact statement on her behalf. Pete said in the statement that she couldn’t stand to be in the same room as Peterson and accused him of using his fan base to torment her for years after the shooting.

“He not only shot me, he made a mockery of my trauma … mercy can only be granted to those who accept responsibility for their actions,” the statement read.

The shooting was one in a series of violent attacks on hip-hop stars in L.A. in recent years. Since 2020, rappers Nipsey Hussle, Drakeo The Ruler and PnB Rock were all murdered in the city. The slaying of Drakeo, whose real name is Darrell Caldwell, remains unsolved.

The attack on Pete also reignited discussions about misogyny in the hip-hop industry. Despite his arrest and conviction, Lanez has retained an extremely vocal fan base, members of whom often showed up around the courthouse during last year’s trial and decried the prosecution as corrupt.

Both Peterson and Drake have released tracks in recent years questioning the validity of Pete’s accusations. During the trial, Pete expressed fury that much of the discussion around the case had to do with her sexual liaisons instead of the fact that someone fired a gun at her.

“This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys club,” she said. “Like I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”

Peterson’s team has repeatedly hinted Harris may have actually shot Pete, echoing a popular theory of the crime espoused by the Canadian rapper’s most ardent supporters. But Harris was never charged with a crime in the case, and no evidence was presented suggesting her guilt. She tested positive for gunshot residue in the hours after the shooting, but such residue is often found on any person who was in the vicinity of a gun when it was fired.

Harris did request immunity in order to testify and then spent her time on the stand contending she couldn’t remember the events of a shooting that happened in front of her. Harris had been Pete’s best friend, but the women’s relationship has all but collapsed since the shooting. Harris has gone so far as to release a diss track attacking Pete.

In a recorded interview that was played during trial, however, Harris told law enforcement officials last September that Peterson was the shooter and also echoed Pete’s allegation that Peterson tried to bribe them.

Recordings may have proved fatal for Peterson at trial. While there was no physical evidence conclusively trying Peterson to the gun used in the shooting, prosecutors were able to point to calls and texts in which he apologized to Pete in the hours after his arrest.

In a jailhouse phone call that night, he said he was “deeply sorry … so I feel crazy that I made a mistake,”

“What happened, happened already. I can’t take it back. I’m just telling y’all I’m sorry,” he added.

Peterson’s defense team has contended he was only apologizing for the argument and the revelation he’d been sleeping with both Pete and Harris.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button