One of two men implicated in the murder of T.I.s childhood friend Philant Johnson went on trial yesterday (November 18) in Cincinnati facing multiple charges including murder and felonious assault.
Authorities spent almost two years investigating the May 2006 chase and shoot out that left Johnson dead and three other individuals in the Grand Hustle camp wounded.
It wasnt until this past summer that police caught a break, which lead to the arrest of 40-year-old Padron Thomas and 36-year-old Hosea Thomas, who stands on trial alone in the crime.
The elder Thomas brother, along with two others charged with federal gun crimes, contacted officials earlier this year with details of the incident, effectively pointing the finger at Hosea as the killer.
According to Padron Thomas, he and his friends confronted T.I. and his crew over gaining entry to the VIP area at Club Ritz in the Roselawn area of Cincinnati. Following the ensuing fight, the Atlanta-based rapper and his entourage left the scene in two vans.
They were chased by a green Jeep Cherokee, from which the shots were later fired.
Padron Thomas has admitted to driving the vehicle and told authorities that his brother Hosea fired shots at the vans, one which was described as a horror scene, with blood and brain matter dripping from the ceiling.
He also claims that at least one member of T.I.s camp returned fire.
While Hamilton County prosecutor Heather Gosselin indicated in her opening statement that the states case would come down to witness testimony, Hosea Thomas lawyer Charles Isaly pointed out that the character of those witnesses should be questioned.
He insisted that all of the prosecutions proposed witnesses are out to paint his client in a negative light in order to obtain reduced sentences for their own crimes.
Padron Thomas plea deal has guaranteed that he will serve no time behind bars for his part in the incident.
Prosecutors have allowed him to plead guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, dropping the murder charges he originally faced alongside his brother.
They had also agreed to allow him to serve any sentence he receives concurrently with his federal prison sentence.
T.I. is expected to testify in the trial, which will most likely extend into next week.