A jury is now deliberating in the case of rapper Tory Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson. He is accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete.
The sensational trial this month both revealed new details and created more confusion about what happened.
Prosecutors allege the shooting happened shortly after both artists left a party in July 2020 at the Hollywood Hills home of Kylie Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan. The pair was riding in an SUV with a woman named Kelsey Harris — a longtime friend of Pete’s from whom she is now estranged — and Peterson’s bodyguard.
Prosecutors said the two artists got into a heated dispute when Pete derided Peterson’s rap skills. At some point, Pete demanded to be let out of the car, at which time Peterson allegedly repeatedly fired at her, authorities said.
The gunshots prompted a slew of 911 calls, and Los Angeles police officers eventually pulled over the SUV near Hollywood Boulevard and found Pete with a foot injury. Initially, Pete told police that she was hurt by stepping on broken glass at Jenner’s party.
Weeks later, however, she accused Peterson in an Instagram Live video of shooting her. She has said she hesitated to report the incident to Los Angeles police out of fear police would respond with deadly force as they had in the recent killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
Peterson was first arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm. From the get-go, his defense team has tried to knock down Pete’s explanation of her failure to report the shooting right away. If she had been concerned about the police response, his lawyers have said, she could have told paramedics or doctors the story of how she was injured while they removed bullet fragments from her feet.
Peterson is charged with assault with a firearm, possession of a concealed firearm and negligent discharge of a gun. If convicted on all counts and a pair of sentencing enhancements, he faces up to 23 years in prison.
On the stand, Pete talked about the depression and thoughts of suicide she had in the aftermath of the shooting. She teared up repeatedly and expressed regret for coming forward at all about the incident.
“I wish he would’ve just shot and killed me if I knew I was going to have to go through this torture,” Pete, 27, said, referring to the deluge of criticism she said she received for reporting Peterson.
Pete testified she was driving away from a party at Jenner’s house with Peterson, his bodyguard and Harris when an argument erupted inside their SUV on Nichols Canyon Road. Peterson was upset that Pete had asked him to leave the party, she said.
Then Peterson turned around and told Pete she needed “to stop lying” to Harris about their relationship.
Pete told the court that she and Peterson had become friends and bonded over the loss of their mothers in the months before the shooting. They also occasionally had a sexual relationship.
Pete asked to be let out of the car. But as she walked away, Pete said in court, Peterson opened fire on her and yelled “dance, b—!” wounding Pete’s feet.
Peterson did not take the stand.
Peterson’s team has tried to shift the blame toward Harris. Lead defense attorney George Mgdesyan has contended the case was about a romantic tryst rather than a rivalry between rappers, claiming Harris exploded following an alcohol-fueled revelation that both women had been sleeping with Peterson.
Mgdesyan also emphasized the lack of forensic evidence against Peterson. DNA tests on the gun used in the shooting were inconclusive, and Peterson’s DNA was not found on the firearm’s magazine. He questioned why only Peterson had been tested for DNA, and not Harris or Peterson’s driver, Jaquan Smith.
Mgdesyan has regularly attacked Pete’s credibility, questioning her decision to delay reporting the incident to police and her refusal to admit she’d had a sexual relationship with Peterson until the trial, which he argued is central to the case.
L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathy Ta pushed back on that portrayal, asking jurors what motive Pete would have to lie and reminding the panel of the severe backlash the performer has faced since reporting the incident to authorities.
Prosecutors also have pointed to voicemails and texts Peterson sent to Harris and Pete in which he apologized for his behavior within 24 hours of the incident, though he never actually admits to a crime. L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Alexander Bott called on jurors to use their common sense and infer the only thing Peterson could have been sorry for was the shooting.
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Megan Thee Stallion has credibly accused her boyfriend Tory Lanez of shooting her in the foot on the way home from a pool party at Kylie Jenner’s house. She turned down hush money, is testifying against Lanez in court, and has been stabbed in the back by her friends. Instead of getting showered with support, Megan Thee Stallion was mocked, especially by both men and women in black culture. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in her position.
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