Megan Thee Stallion said she has suffered daily since rapper Tory Lanez shot her in the feet three years ago in a written statement read during Lanez’s sentencing, which will stretch today.
“Since I was viciously shot by the defendant, I have not experienced a single day of peace,” Megan said in a statement read by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kathy Ta. “Slowly but surely, I’m healing and coming back, but I will never be the same.”
The hip-hop star, who testified during the trial, said she struggled with whether she would appear to give the statement in person, but said she “simply could not bring myself to be in a room with Tory again”.
She asked that her absence not be taken as a sign of indifference, and urged Judge David Herriford to issue a stiff sentence.
The judge had been expected to sentence Lanez Monday at a hearing that often can take only a couple of hours, but Herriford had attorneys for the two sides argue each factor of his potential sentence, and allowed seven witnesses to give statements on Lanez’s charitable giving, his childhood trauma, and his status as father of a 6-year-old son.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to hand down a 13-year sentence to the 31-year-old Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson. Lanez was convicted of three felonies: assault with a semi-automatic firearm, having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Lawyers for Lanez said in a sentencing memo that he should get only probation and be released from jail to enter a residential substance abuse program. They plan to appeal his conviction.
Megan testified during the trial that Lanez had fired the gun at the back of her feet and shouted for her to dance as she walked away from an SUV in which they had been riding in summer 2020. The pair had left a party at Kylie Jenner’s Hollywood Hills home.
Lanez’s father, Sonstar Peterson, a Christian minister, choked back tears in court on August 7 as he told the judge about his wife, Luella, dying just a few days after showing the first symptoms of a rare blood disorder that would lead to her death when Lanez was 11.
“I don’t think anybody ever gets over that,” he said of their youngest child, Lanez. “But his music became his outlet.”
Other witnesses talked about Lanez nearly constant charitable giving even before fame and money from music came to him in 2017.
The mother of his son, Raina Cassagne, called him “the most supportive father, the funniest father”.
Dozens more wrote letters to Herriford, including rapper Iggy Azalea, who asked the judge to hand down a sentence that was “transformative, not life-destroying.”
The judge said Lanez’s son, who is 6 years old, also sent in a handwritten letter, but Herriford did not describe it further.
A chaplain from Los Angeles County jail appeared in court and said that Lanez has led daily prayer groups that have eased tensions in the protective custody unit where he is being held.
Herriford made findings in favour 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 won’t allow that to be a factor because the rapper has a right to maintain his innocence.
Megan, in her statement, cited the absence of remorse, saying Lanez “has blamed the system, blamed the press, and as of late has tried to take advantage of his childhood trauma”.
Sonstar Peterson also grew emotional when he expressed his regret for rising in court after jurors returned with their verdict and denouncing the “wicked system” that led to his son’s conviction. Deputies wrestled him from the courtroom at the time.
“I want to personally apologise to you,” he told the judge on August 7. “It was an overwhelming time.”
Lanez began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and saw a steady rise in popularity, moving on to major-label albums. Megan Thee Stallion, now 28, was already a major rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has surged since. She won a Grammy for best new artist in 2021, and has had No. 1 singles with “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest with Cardi B on “WAP”.