Driver In T.I. Shooting Pleads Guilty
On May 3, 2006, Padron Thomas drove north on I-75 as his brother Hosea fired shots into an adjacent van containing T.I. and several members of his entourage. While T.I. miraculously avoided injury, his friend Philant "Big Phil" Johnson was killed in the incident. Now the 41-year-old driver has stepped forward to plead guilty to manslaughter, tampering with evidence and five counts of felonious assault.
"Details emerged [in] June 2008 explaining that both men took issue with T.I. and his entourage, when they were denied access to exclusive areas at a late night party and performance," said an article published in the Cincinnati Examiner and quoted by Sohh.com. "Upon being turned down, a member from Tip's crew allegedly struck one of the brothers in the head with a bottle and later taunted them. This led to the Thomas duo following the rapper's crew in SUVs and exchanging gunfire. Johnson reportedly died as a result of this gunfire."
The Examiner reports that Padron Thomas' official sentencing is slated for November 17, but the judge trying the case has already indicated Thomas will receive a 10-year sentence to be concurrently served with another 17 year bid for drug and gun charges. Notably, the crime remained unsolved until Padron Thomas was arrested on these separate federal drug and gun charges and prosecutors got him to testify against his brother. As a reward for cooperation, Thomas' charges have been lessened and he gets off with 10 years.
Hosea Thomas, his brother, is eligible for parole in 2074 when he is 100 years old.