Tory Lanez guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion
Daystar Peterson, a Canadian rapper who plays Tory Lanez, was found guilty Friday of assault and weapons offenses for shooting rap star Megan Thee Stallion after an alcohol-fueled party in 2020 .
Peterson faces more than 20 years in prison for the five shots jurors found he fired at the feet of Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete, in a fit of rage. The shooting followed an argument inside Peterson’s SUV as the couple drove with others through the Hollywood Hills.
Jurors reached their decision after less than two days of deliberation after a two-week trial.
Pete spoke out last week and said Peterson shot him after an argument broke out in his vehicle after he left a party at the home of Kardashian clan member Kylie Jenner. She said the altercation started after Peterson revealed to her best friend, Kelsey Harris, that the two rappers started seeing each other. Harris, who was also in the car, had previously been involved with Peterson and became angry that Pete “hijacked” her, she said.
Pete said she finally asked to get out of the vehicle on Nichols Canyon Road in the Hollywood Hills. As she walked away, she claimed, Peterson shouted, “Dance, b—!” before firing a volley of shots at her, although no other witnesses corroborated this statement. Pete was kicked several times in the feet and required surgery to remove bullet fragments.
There were only four people in the SUV when the gunshots broke out: Pete, Harris, Peterson and his bodyguard, Jaquan Smith. Smith did not take the stand, leaving Harris as the witness with the best view of the incident to testify in the case. But prosecutors heard two very different stories from Harris, Pete’s former best friend who fell out with the hitman after the shooting.
In court last week, Harris refused to testify until prosecutors granted him immunity. On the stand, she consistently deflected questions and asked to invoke her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Often attributing his fuzzy memory to a long night of drinking at Jenner’s party, Harris wouldn’t say who shot Pete or respond to questions about claims that Peterson offered the two women $1 million not to report. the incident to the police – even though she had already sent a text message the night of the altercation which read: “Tory shot Meg.”
The day after Harris left, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Herriford allowed prosecutors to play the entirety of a taped interview Harris gave them in September. On the tape, she clearly identifies Peterson as the shooter and gives a detailed account of the night of the shooting, telling the story with minimal prompting from prosecutors.
“You start to hear gunshots…I look up maybe on the second or third shot…you see Tory…he’s leaning in, the door’s open,” Harris said on the tape. “He shoots over the door, right front passenger side.”
Peterson has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing and pleaded innocent to the charges of assault, possession of illegal weapons and negligent discharge of a firearm filed against him.
In court, her lead attorney, George Mgdesyan, tried to portray Harris as the shooter, arguing that she snapped after learning her best friend was seeing Peterson. A forensic analysis of the gun used in the shooting showed that Peterson’s DNA was not found on the gun’s magazine and that all tests on the gun itself were not found. were not conclusive.
An LAPD forensic scientist testified that there were up to four people’s DNA on both the gun and the magazine, but they could not prove that Peterson touched the gun. Both Harris and Peterson tested positive for gunshot residue, but people can test positive if they’ve been near someone shooting a gun.
Mgdesyan also sought to attack the reliability of the police investigation into the case, repeatedly questioning why officers did not take a DNA sample from Harris at the time. None of the police witnesses in the case provided an answer.
Senior Detective Ryan Stogner was placed on administrative leave this year after facing domestic abuse allegations during a contentious divorce, records show. While a criminal case against Stogner was quickly dismissed by the district attorney’s office, Mgdesyan repeatedly tried to portray him as the architect of a failed investigation.
On Tuesday, Mgdesyan called a witness who he said could identify Harris as the shooter. But the man, a Nichols Canyon Road resident named Sean Kelly, said he “never saw a gun” that night, only muzzle flashes from a woman.
During a rambling and confused hour on the stand, Kelly said he believed he ‘saw the girl shoot first’ but later said he only saw muzzle flashes and no weapons fire and that the “lightning” came from Peterson. Audio of the incident played by prosecutors in court showed three rapid gunshots, a pause, and then two more.
Like Harris’ testimony, there were discrepancies between what Kelly initially told police and Mgdesyan and what he said on the stand. When he first called 911, Kelly made no mention of a female shooter, according to a transcript referenced in court by Deputy Dist. Atti. Alexander Bott, although Mgdesyan later got a police investigator to admit that he also never asked Kelly for a description of the shooter. Kelly also admitted he once told a defense investigator he saw Peterson snatch a gun from “a woman,” presumably Harris, but he was less clear on that point on the stand Tuesday.
Before the verdict, jurors paid particular attention to Kelly’s accounts of the shooting. The jury asked the court to reread Kelly’s full testimony on Thursday, the first day of deliberations.
The case has reignited discussions of misogyny in the male-dominated hip-hop industry, which Pete has subverted with his searing discography of songs that often depict women exercising power over men. Peterson released an entire album in 2020 largely devoted to denying Pete’s account of the shooting and proclaiming his innocence, and a recent Drake song also contained lyrics casting similar doubt.
As she testified, the normally swaggering voice behind “WAP” and “Hot Girl Summer” often wavered, and Pete explained how she battled depression and suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of the shooting.
“This whole story wasn’t about the shooting. It was just about who I had sex with,” she said. “When people talk about Megan Thee Stallion who got shot, all the headlines are “Megan Thee Stallion is on trial”, and I’m not on trial!”
Los Angeles Times