Man Accused of Killing T.I.’s Friend Sentenced to 66 Years
Last month Atlanta rapper T.I. took the stand in a Cincinnati courtroom and testified that shots fired on May, 3, 2006 were meant for him, not his friend and assistant Philant Johnson, who was killed during the shootout.
A jury found Hosea Thomas guilty of murder, felonious assault and illegally having a gun after a felony conviction and Judge Ralph Winkler sentenced the 34-year-old to 66 years to life on Tuesday. Thomas will not be eligible for release until 2074, when he will be 100 years old.
T.I. has publicly stated that the death of his close friend sparked his decision to purchase firearms, which resulted in federal gun charges. The rapper will serve one year in federal prison for in 2009.
"(Thomas) gave Philant Johnson a death sentence, and his family -- he gave them a death sentence as well," the judge said while handing down Thomas' sentence. "All of his crimes have been cowardly and senseless. ... You could say he's the poster boy for gun violence in Cincinnati."