Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, convicted of shooting US artist Megan Thee Stallion in the feet during a drunken argument after a Hollywood party, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.
A Los Angeles judge handed down the sentence after hearing how Lanez had ordered the hip-hop star to “Dance, bitch” as he shot at her several times while she stood on the road.
The sentencing follows Lanez’s conviction in December for assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle.
Prosecutors had requested a 13-year sentence, claiming Lanez had caused physical and emotional scarring to the “WAP” performer.
Lanez’s attorneys had asked for him to be given probation or three years in prison, and mandatory rehab, including for alcohol addiction.
In a protracted sentencing hearing that began Monday, Judge David Herriford said he had received more than 70 letters on Lanez’s behalf, including from his celebrity friends.
One was from musician Iggy Azalea, whom he said had requested a sentence that was “transformational, not life-destroying.”
Another came from Lanez’s young son.
But the judge ordered Lanez — who has been in jail since his conviction — to serve a decade behind bars.
He said the prosecution had proven two aggravating factors, involving the use of weapon and a particularly vulnerable victim, but had not proven that the crime involved a high degree of cruelty, viciousness or callousness.
Megan Thee Stallion — whose real name is Megan Pete — had been in a car with Lanez, his bodyguard and her friend Kelsey Harris after a party at Kylie Jenner’s luxury home in July 2020.
She and Lanez — whose real name is Daystar Peterson — had developed an intimate relationship in the months before the incident.
Harris, who only learned of the sexual relationship that night, had a “crush” on Lanez, she told the court, and an argument then erupted in the car, with Megan Thee Stallion demanding to be let out of the vehicle.
The “Savage” rapper said she saw Lanez pointing a gun at her and opening fire “after he said, ‘Dance, bitch.’”
Megan Thee Stallion told the court during the trial she felt she had “been turned into some kind of villain,” in the wake of the shooting, with the male-dominated rap world frequently seeming to be against her.
In a statement read in court Monday, she said she had not experienced “a single day of peace” since she was shot in July 2020.
“He not only shot me. He made a mockery of my trauma,” she said.
The LA District Attorney said after the verdict that her fame helped bring attention to the issue of violence against women.
“The fact that she is a successful entertainer has brought an important spotlight on the issue of violence against women,” said prosecutor George Gascón.
Director of Victim Services at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Tanishia Wright, told reporters after the sentencing hearing: “Violence against black women and girls is a long standing national epidemic that has long been overlooked and under-reported.”
“Women of colour more times than not do not come forward to report victimisation due to the fear they will not be believed,” she continued.
Lanez has maintained his innocence, with his lawyers suggesting Ms Harris may have shot her friend after discovering the relationship because she had a “crush” on him and was jealous.
Ms Harris denied that. However, on the witness stand she backtracked on previous statements that Lanez was the shooter, instead telling the trial she did not see who shot Megan.