Megan Thee Stallion shooting trial: 6 takeaways
Jury deliberations began Thursday in a Los Angeles courtroom in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged with shooting and injuring hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion on July 12, 2020 in the Hollywood Hills.
Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Pete, accused Lanez of shooting her on the witness stand while the rapper, who did not testify, pleaded not guilty.
Here are the six insights from a high-profile case that has sparked heated debates in the hip-hop community and beyond about society’s treatment of black women.
Megan Thee Stallion claims Lanez shot her in emotional statement
Pete took the witness stand last Tuesday, where the hip-hop star recounted the events leading up to the night she was allegedly shot and injured by Lanez and said she wished she’d had because of the intense vitriol and attacks, which she does not survive, confronted after speaking.
“It messed up my whole life,” she said. “…I don’t even want to be on this earth anymore.”
The Grammy winner testified that on the night of July 12, 2020, she got out of a car after an argument with Lanez and as she walked away, turned her head and saw him with a gun, according to a reporter from Los Angeles ABC Station , KABC, who was in the courtroom.
“He had the gun pointed at me,” she said, according to KABC, claiming he said “dance b—-” and fired his gun, injuring both of her feet.
“I froze… I was shocked,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure if that was happening…I looked down at the floor and saw the blood…everyone was shocked.”
Pete’s attorney, Alex Spiro, told ABC News in a phone interview after she testified Tuesday that her main message was that “she’s a shooting victim and that’s what this case is about and that’s the truth.” End of the story.”
While on the witness stand, Pete claimed Lanez apologized to her after the alleged shooting and offered her money to remain silent.
“Please don’t say anything, I’ll give you $1 million,” she said, recounting an alleged conversation she said took place the night of the incident when police arrived at the scene.
At trial, prosecutors presented the jury with a taped phone call from Lanez, who appeared to be apologizing to Pete after he was arrested the night of the shooting. The phone call the rapper made from jail was recorded and played back at the trial.
Spiro also pointed to a text message from Lanez apologizing to Megan, which was also presented to the jury as evidence in the case.
When asked about the taped phone call and text message, Lanez’s attorneys did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Tory Lanez pleads not guilty
Lanez did not take the witness stand during the trial and his attorneys argued that their client was not the shooter.
“It’s a very unfortunate case,” Lanez defender George Mgdesyan said Wednesday during closing arguments, according to KABC. “Someone was shot. Megan Pete was shot… my client is not the shooter… my client is falsely accused.”
Lanez, a popular rapper whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was originally charged in October 2020 with assault with a semi-automatic firearm (personal use of a firearm) and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, according to loading documents obtained by ABC News. “Personal use of a firearm” is not a separate charge, but is a first-count sentencing that could increase Lanez’s potential sentence.
Lanez was charged earlier this month with another felony count of negligently discharging a firearm, the Los Angeles County Attorney’s Office confirmed to ABC News.
Lanez pleaded not guilty to all three counts in that case.
“We are confident that at the end of this trial, the truth will come out and Mr. Peterson will be cleared of all charges,” Lanez attorney Sarkis Manukyan told ABC News ahead of the trial.
Lanez’s defense attorneys suggested someone else had the gun.
Randy Zepeda, a Los Angeles Police Department detective, testified Monday about the DNA evidence in the case, according to KABC, saying that DNA from four men was found in the gun magazine, and while Lanez’s DNA was not found, is it doesn’t mean he hasn’t touched it.
He also testified that testing for the presence of Lanez’s DNA profile on the gun was inconclusive, meaning neither present nor absent.
According to prosecutors, Lanez faces up to 22 years and 8 months in prison if convicted. The closing arguments are scheduled to continue on Thursday.
The doctor describes Megan’s foot injuries
According to prosecutors, Lanez “personally inflicted grievous bodily harm” on Pete after the two got into an argument while riding in an SUV in the Hollywood Hills, resulting in injuries to both feet, for which she received medical treatment in Cedars-Sinai Medical center in Los Angeles.
dr Lee Haruno, Cedars-Sinai’s chief orthopedic surgeon, took the witness stand Thursday, where he described Pete’s injuries from the shooting and showed the jury X-rays.
Haruno said he helped with surgery on her feet after she was shot on July 12, 2020, where she had stitches and stayed in the hospital overnight.
Haruno pointed to the x-rays and identified bullet fragments on the back of the heels of Pete’s feet.
“I couldn’t walk for a while…I had nerve damage…I still have nerve damage,” Pete said during her testimony as she described her injuries, according to KABC.
When asked about Pete’s injuries, Haruno said he didn’t find any nerve damage, but added that some small bullet fragments are still in her feet because removing pieces that small could do more damage.
He added that the remaining metal objects could be painful.
A neighbor who witnessed a shooting from his home speaks out
According to police, four people were present when the incident occurred: Pete and another woman, Kelsey Harris, along with Lanez and his bodyguard, Jaquan Smith, who was the driver that night.
Sean Kelly, who witnessed the alleged shooting from his home, testified that a person he identified as Lanez fired shots, but he also said that he thought one of the women fired shots because he had “flashes.” ” near Harris and Pete saw.
He said he didn’t see a gun, but did see Pete and Harris arguing and that the argument escalated and “became quite violent.”
He said Monday he “saw a muzzle flash” and then Lanez got out of the car after the first flashes and then he saw more flashes.
He testified that Lanez “shot everywhere” and appeared angry.
Harris and Pete were friends at the time of the shooting but have since become estranged, according to their court testimony. When asked if Harris shot her while she was giving evidence, Pete said no. And when asked if she was the shooter during her testimony, Harris also said “no.”
Star witness changes her story
Harris changed her story when she took the stand, saying she doesn’t remember much of what happened that night, raising questions about which account the jury would believe.
Key evidence presented to the jury was a text message Harris sent to Pete’s then-bodyguard Justin Edison shortly after the incident that read, “Help Tory shoot Meg 911.”
Asked about the message, Harris said she panicked when she sent it.
“I don’t know why I said that to Justin. I didn’t see anything happen,” Harris testified, according to KABC.
Harris first confirmed details pointing to Lanez as the suspected shooter in a video interview with prosecutors in September. Harris also claimed in the interview that Lanez attacked her and threatened to shoot her, but on the witness stand she said she didn’t remember that happening.
“Some things I said in September were incorrect,” Harris said on the witness stand.
When asked why her story changed, Harris told prosecutors she was “protecting” herself, but didn’t explain what from.
The 80-minute September video interview with Harris was played to the jury on Friday, who were able to hear their conflicting statements.
Spiro told ABC News that this was a case of “comfortable amnesia.”
When asked on the witness stand whether Lanez offered Harris any money or favors after the incident, Harris said “no” and asked if the defense or anyone on Lanez’s team had attempted to speak to Harris since the incident, she said “no “. according to KABC.
ABC News reached out to Harris and Lanez’s attorneys, but requests for comment went unanswered.
Important witnesses cannot testify
Smith and Edison – two key witnesses called to testify – failed to appear in court and questions about their whereabouts were asked at the trial.
There is no indication Smith was to testify, and Spiro claimed in an interview with ABC News on Saturday that Smith was “unavailable” for much of the case.
ABC News’ attempts to reach Smith have been unsuccessful and it’s unclear if he has an attorney.
When asked about his whereabouts and whether he was subpoenaed, the LA County Attorney’s Office told ABC News, “We will not be dealing with matters involving potential witnesses while the trial is ongoing.”
Spiro claimed that Edison, who was scheduled to testify Friday, failed to show up and was missing, raising questions about his whereabouts, prompting the LA County DA to “investigate his disappearance.”
When asked about Edison’s whereabouts and whether he was indeed unavailable, his attorney Laura Bell told ABC News Monday that she had “no comment on the case.”
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