Hosea Thomas was sentenced today (December 23) to 66 years in prison for the murder of Philant Johnson, best friend and assistant to Atlanta superstar T.I.
In May 2006, assailants stalked T.I.’s entourage following an after-hours party at the Club Ritz, located in the Roselawn section of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Along highway I-75 the rapper’s entourage was fired upon, mortally wounding Johnson and injuring several others.
In June, Hosea and his brother Padron Thomas were arrested and charged with murder and felonious assault.
According to police, the shooting stemmed from several incidents involving the brothers and T.I.’s entourage at the Club Ritz.
First, the Thomas brothers were allegedly barred from entering T.I.’s VIP area that night, and an ensuing scuffle resulted in one of them being struck with a bottle.
Later, the Thomas brothers allegedly became more enraged once T.I. began throwing money into the crowd during his performance.
During the trial, T.I. assisted prosecutors by testifying about his recollections of the deadly shooting.
Since the murder, the Atlanta star has spoken often about how losing his best friend to violence caused him to reevaluate his life and the messages he conveyed in his music.
Along with the murder conviction, Hosea Thomas was found guilty last month of felonious assault and illegally having a gun after a felony conviction.
Previously, Thomas was convicted of drug possession and trafficking.
His brother Padron, who at press time has not been sentenced, is a listed sex offender with convictions on robbery and rape charges.
Additionally, Padron was charged with tampering with evidence pertaining to the Johnson murder.
He remains in the custody of US Marshals for an unrelated drug case.