Megan Thee Stallion delivered an emotional written statement on Monday, describing her daily suffering since she was shot in the feet by rapper Tory Lanez in July 2020.
via: Rolling Stone
“I struggle with being present. After everything that occurred I cannot bring myself back to being in the same room with Tory,” Megan wrote. “I’ve been tormented and terrorized.”
Megan referenced widely shared misinformation that had spread since the incident and trial, and further stated that Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, had done whatever he could to avoid accountability and punishment.
“He paid bloggers to disseminate false information, he treated my trauma like a joke when I could’ve been dead,” she wrote. “He blamed the system, he blamed the press, and as of late he is using his childhood trauma to justify his actions.”
“Slowly but surely, I’m healing. But I’ll never bee the same,” she continued. “His crime warrants the full weight of the law.”
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 prosecution has asked the judge for a 13-year sentence.
Much of Monday’s hearing was centered around Peterson’s defense looking to establish his character as they continue to seek probation and rehabilitation for what they said were substance abuse issues instead of sending Peterson to prison.
Judge David Herriford reviewed over 70 letters of support submitted by Peterson’s legal team from Peterson’s associates. 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 transformative and not life-destroying.”
Seven witnesses — including Peterson’s father Sonstar Peterson and Raina Chassagne, the mother of his six-year-old child — spoke in person on Monday as well, stating that Peterson suffered greatly from a difficult upbringing and that in spite of the adversity he faced, he put considerable time, money, and resources into charitable causes to give back to the community.
His father spoke about Peterson losing his mother as a child, and how he started acting out in school after her death. Music had become his means of coping with the loss, he said.
“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,” he said. Sonstar tearfully asked the court for mercy for his son, and apologized for his own outburst from when Peterson was convicted last year.
Chassagne asked the court to be “as lenient as possible for the rock of our family, for our son,” further stating that the shooting was “completely out [of character.]”
Other witnesses who spoke Monday included a jail chaplain who described Peterson leading prayer groups, a non-profit executive who said the organization will struggle without Peterson’s assistance, and a psychologist who suggested that Peterson’s mental state lines up with post-traumatic stress disorder and general anxiety, which both could contribute to alcohol abuse. (As Judge Herriford pointed out, while the psychologist who spoke in court said he had PTSD, another Doctor who saw Peterson didn’t make that same conclusion.)
The prosecution pushed back, questioning later in the afternoon how drinking contributed to the crimes. “Where is the nexus between drinking and shooting a defenseless victim,” Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said.
Echoing Megan’s statement, Bott also harkened to allegations that Peterson offered to pay Megan and her former friend Kelsey Harris to silence them, and the disinformation campaign from his supporters. Bott also suggested the substance abuse claims are another strategy from Peterson and his team to avoid a prison sentence.
“The fact that he told a doctor for the purpose of a sentencing hearing ‘oh yeah, I’ve got alcohol abuse problems is consistent with [Peterson’s] behavior,” Bott said, referring to the defendant’s actions prior to the trial. “Time and time again, the theme has been a willingness to do anything and everything to avoid accountability.”
The hearing will continue this morning at 10:30 a.m. PST.