Daystar Peterson, a Canadian rapper who performs as Tory Lanez, was convicted 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 gunshots jurors concluded he fired at the feet of Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete, in a fit of rage.
The case came to highlight the misogyny in the male-dominated hip-hop industry, which Pete upended with blistering songs that often depict women wielding power over men. She endured a deluge of criticism for reporting Peterson to police.
The jury reached its decision on its first full day of deliberations following a two-week trial.
Pete took the stand last week, testifying that Peterson shot her after the pair left a party at the Hollywood Hills home of Kylie Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan, and began fighting.
The altercation began, Pete said, as she, her friend Kelsey Harris and Peterson were being driven in Peterson’s SUV, and he revealed to Harris that the two rappers had become romantically involved. Harris had previously been involved with Peterson and became angry, Pete said.
Pete told jurors she demanded to be let out of the vehicle on Nichols Canyon Road. As she walked away, she claimed, Peterson shouted, “Dance, b—!” before firing a volley of gunshots at her, although no other witnesses said they heard Peterson yell. Pete was struck several times in the feet and had to undergo surgery to remove bullet fragments.
“The jury got it right,” said Alex Spiro, Pete’s attorney. “I am thankful there is justice for Meg.”
George Mgdesyan, Peterson’s attorney, said he and his client were shocked at the sweeping verdict. He maintained that prosecutors had many holes in their case and lacked evidence to prove that his client was the shooter.
“Right now, everyone’s a little devastated,” Mgdesyan said. “We thought there was more than reasonable doubt here … and we were hoping the truth came out.”
As the verdict was read, Peterson, dressed in a white turtleneck and a powder-pink suit, sat slumped in his chair with his chin jutting upward, expressionless. He was disappointed with the outcome, said Mgdesyan — who spoke with his client at a courthouse holding cell following the proceedings — and plans to appeal.
In addition to Pete, Peterson and Harris, Peterson’s bodyguard Jaquan Smith was in the SUV when the gunfire erupted. Smith did not testify, leaving Harris as the witness who had the best view of the incident. But prosecutors have heard two wildly different stories from Harris, Pete’s onetime confidante who fell out with the hit-maker after the shooting.