Post to Hollywood and Entertainment with photo MG StalliWave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Rapper Tory Lanez has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in the feet in the Hollywood Hills just over three years ago, despite his plea that he be given a chance at “redemption.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford handed down the sentence Aug. 8 after a hearing that stretched over two days and saw prosecutors ask for a prison term of 13 years, while defense attorneys produced an array of witnesses in hopes of sparing their client from a state prison term by highlighting his charitable work and his devotion to his 6-year-old son.
The judge noted that there was “only one set of rules for all of us” and that Lanez “must be treated the same as any other person.”
Herriford said he was somewhat skeptical about the defense’s last-minute claims that Lanez should be sentenced to probation because of his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder, ruling that he could “not grant probation in this case” as requested by the defense.
He noted that Lanez’ conduct after the shooting was a “major factor in aggravation,” while he said the defendant’s lack of prior criminal history and his charitable work were mitigating factors.
The judge said a date will have to be set for the defense’s motion for bail for Lanez pending his appeal.
The 31-year-old Canadian rapper, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was convicted Dec. 23 of one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Lanez has been behind bars since he was ordered to be taken into custody shortly after the jury’s verdict was read in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Prior to his sentence being pronounced, Lanez stood in court with his hands cuffed and said he understood how serious the charges are and doesn’t take it lightly.
But Lanez asked the judge to consider an alternate sentence outside of prison that would allow him to be a betterment to society and show the world that what they’ve seen and heard during the trial “is not me.”
“I’m asking for redemption,” he said. “I’m asking for another chance.”
Lanez told the judge there is a misconception about him “being this monster” and “not having any remorse.”
“It’s just not true,” he said, pleading for a chance to be a father to his son, a mentor and contributor to society and a “light to people in dark places.”
“I truly am just trying to be a better person,” he said.
During the trial, Megan Thee Stallion testified that Lanez shot her during an argument on July 12, 2020, following a get-together at Kylie Jenner’s home. She said she had no doubt that Lanez fired the shots, and that he later offered her $1 million not to say anything. According to the singer, Lanez told her to “dance, bitch,” and then shot her in the feet.
Under cross-examination during the trial, the Grammy Award-winner — whose real name is Megan Pete — said she initially had no intention of talking about what had happened and “didn’t want to be a snitch,” but felt she had to “defend my name” when she saw that people were “making things up” and suggesting that she hadn’t been shot.
In a statement read in court on her behalf Aug. 7, she said she has not experienced “a single day of peace” since she was shot.
“He not only shot me. He made a mockery of my trauma,” the entertainer wrote, adding that she can’t bring herself to be in the same room again with Lanez.
Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said Aug. 7 that Megan Thee Stallion has physical and emotional scarring that will be with her for the rest of her life, saying that the five shots that Lanez fired came after nothing more than a verbal argument about “artistry.” He also accused Lanez of putting the victim “through hell while the case was pending.”
On Aug. 8, the prosecutor said Lanez shot her because she “bruised his ego.”
“The shooting was because of the argument in the car,” the prosecutor said, calling it an “act of misogyny” against her.
One of Lanez’s attorneys, Jose Baez, called that argument “nuts.” He said there was “no denying that alcohol was involved,” and urged the judge to consider Lanez’ history of childhood trauma, including his mother dying when he was 11.
“We’re talking about foolish, reckless behavior that could have been much worse. … The intent was not to take someone’s life,” Baez said of the shooting.
Baez said Peterson “admittedly was highly intoxicated” the night of the shooting and didn’t even remember afterward what the topic of the argument was. He said Lanez would benefit from a live-in substance abuse treatment program.
Baez — who argued for a non-prison sentence — noted his client’s charitable endeavors and his behavior in jail that include doing daily prayer calls for inmates since he’s been behind bars.
During the two-day sentencing hearing, more than a half-dozen witnesses, including Peterson’s father, Sonstar, and the mother of Peterson’s 6-year-old son were called to testify on Lanez’s behalf, discussing his devastation over the death of his own mother when he was 11 and his subsequent charitable efforts throughout the country even before he became well-known.
The judge said he had also received more than 70 letters on Lanez’s behalf, including one from musician Iggy Azalea, whom he said had requested a sentence that was “transformational, not life-destroying,” along with one from Lanez’ young son.
Outside court after the sentencing, Baez told reporters that he believed the sentence was “incredibly harsh,” saying he had seen cases in which someone was killed and a defendant had received less than 10 years.
“This case to get a 10-year sentence is extreme and really just another example of someone being punished for their celebrity status and someone being utilized to send an example. And he’s not an example, he’s a human being,” said the defense attorney, who was added to the case after the verdict against Lanez was returned.
When asked what he would have done differently if he had handling the case before it got to trial, Baez said, “I think this case was handled incredibly poorly. … We would have come in prepared and ready to show that Daystar Peterson was innocent of these charges.”
He noted that there are “very strong issues for the appeal that we’ve uncovered,” explaining that the defense wants Lanez to be freed on bail while the case is awaiting appeal.
Prosecutors countered that Megan Thee Stallion had shown the courage to come forward and testify against her assailant.
“My first thought was I was thrilled for Megan,” Bott said. “This has been a long and hard road for her. Not only did the defendant do the heinous act of shooting her, he then subjected her to 2 1/2 years of hell. He called her a liar, he intimidated her, he harassed her. Nevertheless, in the face of all that abuse and vitriol, Megan showed the courage to come forward and speak her truth and today’s sentence is justice for Megan.”
Fellow prosecutor Kathy Ta said she has seen the “transformative impact” that the case has had on Megan Thee Stallion and has seen the “trauma she’s undergone in the last three years and I am incredibly relieved on her behalf.”
“I hope that this brings her some level of closure and that from here on out this is another chapter she can move away from and she can start rebuilding,” Ta said.
In April, Lanez posted a video and statement on Instagram addressed to District Attorney George Gascón, saying, “Today I take a stance as an innocent Black man, wrongfully convicted of a crime I did not commit.”
Lanez alleged in the post that he “was completely robbed and deprived of a fair trial” and that he watched prosecutors “unlawfully misuse their authority to hide and suppress any and all exculpatory evidence that exonerates me and furthers my innocence.”
“So, Mr. Gascón, I come to you today as a wrongfully convicted Black man, not asking for sympathy, nor compassion, but for you to simply do what is fair and right in the laws of California, and most importantly in the eyes of God,” he said in the recording, in which he cited the steps that Gascón has taken “in regards to fighting for the justice of Black and brown minorities.”
Shortly after Lanez’s sentencing, the district attorney said the prosecutors on the case “made tremendous sacrifices and endured attacks that they shouldn’t have to.”
“They were attacked on social media. Their integrity was questioned with lies, much the same way that in this case the defendant attacked the victim and tried to victim-blame,” Gascón said.
The district attorney noted that “the fact that Ms. Pete is a successful entertainer has put the spotlight on the important issue of violence against women,” adding that there are many people who endure acts of violence and feel reluctant to come forward.