Rapper Tory Lanez Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Megan Thee Stallion
Judge David Herriford handed down a 10-year sentence to the Canadian artist for shooting the “Plan B” rapper in the feet in the summer of 2020
Judge David Herriford had been expected to sentence Lanez Monday at a hearing that usually only takes a few hours, but Herriford had attorneys for both sides argue each factor of his potential sentence, allowing seven witnesses to give statements on Lanez’s charitable contributions, his childhood trauma and being a father to of his 6-year-old son, according to NBC News.
According to The Associated Press, at the start of Monday’s proceedings, Lanez had over 70 submitted letters of support, including a note from “Fancy” rapper Iggy Azalea to Judge Herriford asking for leniency “that was transformative, not life-destroying” when determining his sentence. “I am not in support of throwing away anyone’s life if we can give reasonable punishments that are rehabilitative instead. I support prison reform. Period,” she later wrote on Twitter.
After a nine-day trial, on December 23, 2022, the unanimous verdict was handed down by a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court, convicting the 31-year-old “Luv” singer of assaulting 28-year-old Megan (real name Megan Pete) with a semi-automatic firearm, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
“The jury got it right,” her lawyer Alex Spiro told PEOPLE in 2022. “I am thankful there is justice for Meg.”
The charges stemmed from a dispute after Lanez, Megan and her former assistant and ex-friend Kelsey Harris left a pool party at Kylie Jenner‘s home in Los Angeles on July 12, 2020. As driver Jaquan Smith was shuttling them around in a Cadillac Escalade, an argument erupted in the vehicle and moved outside onto a sidewalk in the Hollywood Hills.
According to prosecutors in court, as Megan began walking away, she heard Lanez shout, “Dance, bitch!” and began shooting a 9mm pistol at her feet, injuring her so that she dropped to the ground and crawled to safety. County Assistant District Attorney Alexander Bott said in court that her ex-friend Harris freaked out when Lanez approached the two women after he fired five shots at Megan while she “lay bleeding in a random driveway.” Megan was later hospitalized and underwent surgery.
“I’m in shock. I’m scared. I hear a gun going off. I couldn’t believe he was shooting at me,” Megan testified in the packed courtroom last year. “He was holding the gun, pointing it at me.”
Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, looked “stoic” in court on Monday and Tuesday, according to a source. Lanez’s father, Sonstar Peterson, who was present in the gallery on Monday, grew emotional as he described his son losing his mother Luella at age 11 to a rare blood disorder, according to The Associated Press.As he continued, Peterson choked back tears as he apologized in court to Judge Herriford for his outburst last year in court.
“I want to personally apologize to you,” Sonstar told the judge, AP reported. “It was an overwhelming time.” Back then, pandemonium erupted as Sonstar lunged toward prosecution after his son was convicted. He pointed and shouted, “This wicked system! You are wicked, you are evil. Shame on all of you!” before he was removed from the courtroom.
In the years after the shooting, Megan stepped away from social media and took personal time for herself. She suffered severe public blowback — and a wave of harassment and misogyny from the hip-hop community — after she talked to police and spoke out publicly in a statement on Instagram after the incident. Two years later she opened up to Gayle King on CBS Morningsabout the incident, explaining why she initially lied to investigators.
“I don’t remember everything [the police] said to me, but I remember them asking me, ‘What’s happening? What— what happened to you?’ And I didn’t want them to kill any of us or shoot any of us,” she told King. “So I just said, ‘I stepped on glass.'” Later in the segment, Megan admitted, “I was lying to protect all of us. And I— sometimes I wish I really would have never said that.”
In January of this year, 50 Cent apologized for calling her a liar and Soulja Boy blasted Lanez in an Instagram Live video while calling out other rappers for not sticking up for her. On Drake and 21 Savage‘s song “Circo Loco,” the “Hotline Bling” performer appeared to reference the situation and imply that Megan made up the shooting.
“I don’t want to call myself a victim, Megan wrote for ELLE’s May 2023 issue, speaking publicly for the first time since the trial. “As I reflect on the past three years, 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.”
On June 6, prosecutors requested that Judge Herriford sentence Lanez to at least 13 years in prison for his crime, but the rapper’s defense argued in a 41-page sealed memo posted on Aug. 2 that Lanez should instead be sent to rehab, citing his alcohol addiction and severe childhood trauma, journalist Meghann Cuniff of Legal Affairs and Trials’ reported.
The prosecution initially sought a harsher sentence of a maximum of 22 years and eight months behind bars, per a DA’s office press release in October 2020. In May, Judge Herriford — who the defense argued should have been disqualified from the case — denied the request for a new trial.
During the blockbuster trial last year, prosecutors highlighted Megan’s heart-wrenching testimony when she fought back tears and recounted what happened to her. “I wish [Lanez] had just shot and killed me if I would have known I was going to go through this torture,” she said during her testimony.
Lanez’s defense team characterized the shooting as a jealous dispute between Megan and Harris, attempting to cast doubt on who pulled the trigger and forcing Megan to disclose her intimate relationship with Lanez. He did not testify in his own defense but has long maintained his innocence and refuted the claims in his 17-track album Daystar, released in September 2020.
According to legal reporter Cuniff on Twitter, Judge Herriford explained that one jail mate wrote him a letter explaining that Lanez was “remorseful” and has “talked in detail about the event and what he could have done to prevent it.”
Last month, Lanez wrote about his time in prison on Instagram. “I want ya’ll to know I haven’t lost my faith in God and that I’m in high spirits. I’m praying for the best and remain confident that God will bring me through this. I have spent the last 7 months rehabilitating my mind, my body and my soul. Though I came to jail a good person, I will leave a great person,” he posted on June 18. “I won’t let anything stop me from being a positive light and a help to those in need.”
Megan was not present for the reading of the sentencing. “Since I was viciously shot by the defendant, I have not experienced a single day of peace,” she said in a statement read by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta on Monday, according to ABC News. “Slowly but surely, I’m healing and coming back, but I will never be the same.”
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