By ANDREW DALTON
AP Entertainment Writers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rapper Tory Lanez ‘s father grew emotional in court as he described his son losing his mother at age 11 as a judge prepares to sentence Lanez on Monday for shooting and wounding hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in the feet.
Los Angeles prosecutors are asking a judge to hand down a 13-year sentence to the 31-year-old Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson.
His father Sonstar Peterson, a Christian minister, choked back tears as he talked about his wife, Luella, dying just a few days after showing the first symptoms of a rare blood disorder that would lead to his death.
“I don’t think anybody ever gets over that,” Sonstar Peterson said about the reaction of their youngest child, Lanez. “But his music became his outlet.”
The elder Peterson was one of several people who gave statements on Lanez’s character and charitable giving. Dozens more wrote letters to Judge David Herriford, including the mother of Lanez’s young son, who spoke of his qualities as a father, and rapper Iggy Azalea, who asked Herriford to hand down a sentence that was “transformative, not life-destroying.”
The judge said Lanez’s son, who is about 6 years old, also wrote him a hand-written letter, but he did not describe it further.
A chaplain from Los Angeles County jail appeared in court and said that Lanez has led daily prayer groups that have eased tensions in the protective custody unit where he has been held since his December conviction.
“It’s a pretty amazing sight,” the chaplain, Miles McNerney, said.
Sonstar Peterson also grew emotional when he expressed his regret for rising in court after jurors returned with their verdict and denouncing the “wicked system” that led to his son’s conviction. Deputies wrestled him from the courtroom.
“I want to personally apologize to you,” he told the judge. “It was an overwhelming time.”
Herriford is expected to sentence Lanez on Monday afternoon, after more statements are given.
Prosecutors said Megan may appear in court to give a statement, or there may be one read for her. She was not in the courtroom for the initial proceedings.
The judge found earlier Monday that Megan was an especially vulnerable victim when she was shot, but that Lanez was not especially cruel or callous in firing at her, legal factors that could influence the sentence he hands down.
“She has permanent scarring, physically,” Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said in court. “And she certainly will have emotional scarring for the rest of her life.”
Lawyers for Lanez said in a sentencing memo that he should get only probation and be released from jail to enter a residential substance abuse program. They plan to appeal his conviction.
Lanez has been jailed since a Los Angeles jury in December found him guilty of three felonies: assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Megan testified during the trial that Lanez had fired the gun at the back of her feet and shouted for her to dance as she walked away from an SUV in which they had been riding in summer 2020. The pair had left a party at Kylie Jenner’s Hollywood Hills home.
Lanez began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and saw a steady rise in popularity, moving on to major-label albums. Megan Thee Stallion, now 28, was already a major rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has surged since. She won a Grammy for best new artist in 2021, and has had No. 1 singles with “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest with Cardi B on “WAP.”
The allegations and subsequent charges against Lanez unleashed several waves of misinformation and online vitriol aimed at the artist born Megan Pete, prompting conversations about misogynoir — a specific form of misogyny experienced by Black women.