Tory Lanez, 30, was found guilty on Friday by a jury in the July 2020 shooting death of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion, 27. Lanez was charged with discharging a firearm with gross negligence, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm. After about a day and a half of deliberation, he was convicted of three felony counts: assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Lanez was deafeningly silent as the verdict was read aloud. In the courtroom, he was handcuffed.
After Lanez’s defence finished a closing argument from the day before and Los Angeles County prosecutors gave a brief rebuttal, the jury was given the case late Thursday morning.
Lanez, real name Daystar Peterson, pled not guilty on all counts ahead of his trial, which began Dec. 12 and included testimony from Megan, real name Megan Pete, as well as her former friend Kelsey Harris and eyewitness Sean Kelly. Lanez did not appear in court.
The trial took place more than two years after Megan accused the R&B singer of inflicting “great bodily harm” on her. Prosecutors said Lanez fired a gun at a victim identified as “Megan P.” after she got out of an SUV during an argument in the Hollywood Hills on July 12, 2020, according to a criminal complaint.
Lanez’s convictions could result in up to 22 years in prison as well as deportation (the rapper is Canadian).
“The jury was correct. “I am grateful that justice has been served for Meg,” her attorney, Alex Spiro, said in a statement to USA TODAY on Friday.
Pardison Fontaine, Megan Thee Stallion’s boyfriend, broke his silence on the trial ahead of deliberations on Thursday and posted a statement to his Instagram Story dedicated to women who have “suffered an injustice.”
“I feel for you… when you do find the courage to speak up… it appears you will be ridiculed, your credibility will (be) called into question… your entire past will be scrutinised… you can go from victim to defendant in the eyes of the public in an instant,” he wrote. “I’d never wish this on anyone.”
Fans of both artists were watching the trial intently. Michelle Walker, one of Megan’s fans who attended the court proceedings to show her support for Megan, shouted a message to her as the rapper exited the courtroom during her day of testimony. According to Walker, the trial raises issues “bigger than Megan.”
“This is about Black women as a whole,” she said, adding that racism and sexism make it less likely for people to believe Black women who come forward with allegations of violence.