Tory Lanez was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday, nearly eight months after he was found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion (real name Megan Pete) in her feet following an argument in July 2020.
Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was originally going to be sentenced in January of this year, but the sentencing was delayed several times after Peterson hired new legal counsel and attempted to get a new trial. The sentencing began on Monday and wrapped on Tuesday afternoon.
“We were disappointed in the sentence and we were hoping the judge would give a probation sentence, but Daystar will keep his head up and will keep fighting,” Ed Welbourn, one of Peterson’s attorneys, told Rolling Stone after the sentencing. He also said they plan on appealing the decision.
Last December, Peterson was found guilty of first-degree assault with a firearm, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, and having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. The trial was highly publicized, with significant misinformation circulating online against Pete. The prosecution had previously asked for a 13-year sentence.
Lanez addressed the court on Tuesday before the judge handed down his decision, asking for leniency and for a sentence that would allow him to “prove” himself.
“I’m standing in front of you as a father to a six-year-old who needs me every step of the way,” Peterson told Judge David Herriford. “There’s been this misconception about me being this monster, not having remorse, that’s just not true,” he said, noting that he couldn’t go into specifics about the evening at the advice of his legal counsel. “That night, everyone was drunk, I said things I shouldn’t have said. The victim was my friend, I still care about her. We both lost mothers, we’d sit there and drink until we felt numb. Everything I did wrong that night I take responsibility for.”
“I’m not a person who doesn’t believe in self-help. I do have a habitual disorder, I truly am just trying to be a better person. If you allow me that chance I’ll prove that choice makes sense.”
After Peterson spoke, his attorney Jose Baez gave his final statements to the court, noting that the case was “about opportunities” and asking Judge Herriford to issue a sentence that allows Peterson another chance.
As Baez spoke, the defense team displayed a slide show on the courtroom’s television, depicting photos of Peterson’s mother, screenshots of social media posts from Megan, and a letter from Peterson’s son to the judge among other shots. They also showed a video depicting various charitable causes and efforts Peterson supported.
When Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott gave his final words prior to the sentencing, he said watching the presentation “felt like we were here for a man of the year award.”
“We’re here for a heinous act of violence the defendant committed against a defenseless woman,” Bott said. “These are actions of a misogynist and a coward.”
As he’d done on Monday, Bott brought up Peterson’s conduct from throughout the trial, such as the allegations that Peterson offered to pay off Megan and her former friend Kelsey Harris to hide the claims, and Peterson breaking the court-ordered protective order.
While Pete did not attend the sentencing hearings, she submitted a pre-written statement that prosecutors read in court on Monday afternoon. “I struggle with being present. After everything that occurred I cannot bring myself back to being in the same room with Tory,” Megan wrote. “He paid bloggers to disseminate false information; he treated my trauma like a joke when I could’ve been dead. He blamed the system, he blamed the press, and as of late he is using his childhood trauma to justify his actions.”
Peterson and his legal team had made repeated attempts both to appeal for a second trial and lessen the punishment from the first. In May, Peterson was denied his request for a new trial. As recently as last week, Peterson’s attorneys submitted a memo requesting that he be sentenced to probation and to attend rehab rather than prison, citing an alcohol addiction and childhood trauma.
“Assuming the allegations are true, Mr. Peterson’s psychological, physical, and childhood trauma was a factor in the commission of the offense,” Peterson’s attorneys wrote.
Prior to sentencing, on Monday, Peterson’s team looked to establish his character, and secure a more lenient decision. Judge Herriford reviewed 76 letters that Peterson’s legal team had submitted from associates of the defendant, writing about the impact Peterson had on them and those around him.
Among those who submitted letters were family members, professional associates from the music industry, including tour managers and his personal manager, and religious and non-profit executives. Also submitting a letter was Iggy Azalea, who requested Peterson get “a sentence that is transformational and not life-destroying.” Azalea clarified the intent of her letter Monday night on social media, writing that she is “not in support of throwing away ANY ones [sic] life if we can give reasonable punishments that are rehabilitative instead.”
On Monday, Peterson’s legal team called forward a jail chaplain, a music marketer who worked with Peterson and his father, Sonstar Peterson, to speak about Peterson’s character. The chaplain spoke about how Peterson has led prayer calls in jail, while the marketer said community service was as important to Peterson as his music. Sonstar spoke about the impact Peterson’s mother’s sudden death had on him as a child and apologized to Herriford for his own outburst from when his son was convicted last year.
“Daystar is the youngest of our family, and [he and his mother] had a very tight bond. He was 11, he couldn’t deal with it. I don’t think anybody ever gets over that,” Sonstar Peterson said.
Raina Chassagne, the mother of Peterson’s six-year-old child, also spoke prior to the sentencing, asking the court to be “as lenient as possible for the rock of our family, for our son.”
Also speaking as a witness was a psychologist who spoke with Peterson over the phone after his conviction in December, and said his mental state lines up with post-traumatic stress disorder and general anxiety.
By Tuesday morning, the prosecution and defense were both still deliberating on how much potential substance abuse or mental health issues should impact the sentencing ruling. Chassagne and the psychologist spoke in court again to further clarify their statements.
At one point, Bott questioned how much the early death of Peterson’s mother and the subsequent trauma could be considered a contributing factor to Peterson’s behavior, noting that the death is tragic but “something everyone will face one day.”
“The defendant shot the witness because Megan bruised his ego; it was an act of misogyny,” Bott said.
Pete was similarly skeptical in her written statement and further noted that both the incident and aftermath have left lasting trauma. “Slowly but surely, I’m healing. But I’ll never bee the same,” she said. “His crime warrants the full weight of the law.”
When speaking to Rolling Stone in June last year, Pete discussed the then-upcoming trial against Peterson and the online attempts to discredit her. “I’m trying every day to get through it and be good. I feel so bad because I don’t feel like anybody’s taking me seriously, but I don’t want them to see me cry,” she said. “I want him to go to jail,” she added. “I want him to go under the jail.”
When asked how she would like people to know about her life now, she replied: “I’m still not letting nothing knock me down to take me off my game. So you shouldn’t let nothing take you off your game, either. Because if I can get through this shit, you could get through your shit.”