Over the course of 30-minutes of testimony, rapper T.I. shared his account of the events that led to the death of his “best and oldest friend” with a Hamilton County, Ohio jury this afternoon (November 21).
The Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum artist’s demeanor was calm as he spoke on behalf of the prosecution, detailing the club altercation that would end in gunfire on Interstate 75 on May 3, 2006.
He told the packed court room how the two vans in which he and his entourage were travelling came to be sprayed with bullets after being followed by another vehicle.
He went on to describe finding Philant Johnson lying lifeless with blood running down his face from a gunshot wound to the head.
“All of those rounds were fired for me, in my opinion,” a remorseful T.I. told the prosecuting attorney.
Prosecutors accuse Hosea Thomas of shooting Johnson to death during the gun battle.
The shootout stemmed from an altercation in a local club, where T.I. was performing.
A fight broke out when men attempted to enter an area harboring T.I. and his entourage, resulting in Thomas being struck in the head with a bottle.
Prosecutors say Thomas’ brother Padron Thomas was driving the Jeep that chased T.I. and two vans in his entourage along I-75.
Three members of T.I.s entourage were also injured in the shooout, while Johnson was fatally wounded.
Before I know it, shots rang out. At that time, were calling everybodys name out to see if everybody was all right, T.I. testified.
Johnson, who was in front of the rapper, didnt answer, because he had been shot in the left side of his head.
[He was] lifeless, T.I, stated. I saw blood running down his face. His shirt was wet. He had an entry wound in the temple, left temple.
Defense attorneys for Hosea claim that his brother is testifying against him in order to receive a reduced sentence.
T.I. also gave the jury insight into the man Philant Johnson was, saying the two had been friends since childhood.
Hosea Thomas is charged with murder, felonious assault and various weapons charges for his role in the shooting.
A verdict in the case against Hosea Thomas is expected sometime next week.