[Editor’s note: this story has been updated as more information has become available]
Hip-Hop superstar T.I. is expected to testify in a Cincinnati court on Friday (November 21) about the events that took place on the night his close friend and assistant, Philant Johnson, was murdered.
According to Cincinnati’s Local 12 News, a jury was chosen on Monday (November 17) in a case against Hosea Thomas, one of two brothers allegedly responsible for Johnson’s death. Earlier today the jury visited the crime scene and opening statements were given in court.
As previously reported by SOHH, both Hosea and Padron Thomas were charged with the murder and felonious assault of Johnson back in May 2006 at Club Ritz in Roselawn.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, details emerged last June explaining that both men took issue with T.I. and his entourage, when they were denied didn’t allow them access to exclusive areas at a late night party and performance.
“T.I. and his group were in the VIP area,” Cincinnati Homicide Detective Tim Gormly told the Enquirer. “The suspects wanted to get in the VIP area and weren’t allowed to.”
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 gun fire.
In related news, the self proclaimed “King of the South” has recently recorded various anti-crime and violence messages including a Crimestoppers commercial.
Teaming wtih local Atlanta station, WSB-TV, for their new campaign, Tip is seen in an advertisement spreading awareness and encouraging people to call the city’s hotline with anonymous tips that could protect families and bring criminals to justice.
“Hey, what’s happening y’all? Some people call me Tip, but this is about another kind of tip that could help our mothers, our sisters, our brothers and our fathers to help get the perpetrators who commit crimes aganist them off the streets,” Tip says in the video. “All you gotta do is call Crimestoppers Atlanta. Tips can be anonymous and there’s even a reward.”
Finalists for the Online Hip-Hop Awards have been announced. Vote for your favorite artists, bloggers and websites here.