LOS ANGELES – A jury Friday found rapper Tory Lanez, 30, guilty in the July 2020 shooting 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, and was convicted of three felony counts after about a day and a half of deliberation: assault with a semiautomatic firearm; having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Lanez showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read. He was handcuffed while in the courtroom.
The jury received the case late Thursday morning after Lanez’s defense completed a closing argument from a day earlier and Los Angeles County prosecutors gave a brief rebuttal.
Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, pled not guilty on all counts ahead of his trial, which began Dec. 12 and included testimony from Megan, whose legal name is Megan Pete, as well as her former friend Kelsey Harris and eyewitness Sean Kelly. Lanez did not testify.
The trial came more than two years after Megan accused the R&B artist of inflicting “great bodily injury” toward her. In a criminal complaint, 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.
Lanez’s convictions could lead to up to 22 years in prison and deportation (the rapper is Canadian).
“The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg,” her attorney, Alex Spiro, said in a statement to USA TODAY Friday.
Megan Thee Stallion’s boyfriend, Pardison Fontaine, broke his silence on the trial Thursday ahead of deliberations 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 seems you will be ridiculed, your credibility will (be) questioned … your entire past will be held under a magnifying glass .. in an instant you can go from victim to defendant in the eyes of the public,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
The trial was closely watched by fans of both artists. One of Megan’s fans, Michelle Walker, who showed up at the court proceedings to show support for Megan, shouted a message to her as the rapper exited the courtroom during her day of testimony. Walker told USA TODAY the trial raises issues “bigger than Megan.”
“This is about Black women as a whole,” she said, adding that racism and sexism make people less likely to believe Black women when they come forward with allegations of violence.
Tory Lanez on trial over Megan Thee Stallion shooting:All the emotional revelations
Contributing: Charles Trepany and Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY; Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press