Centennial Hill shooter apologizes, sentenced to 85 years in prison

Updated: Jan. 10, 2018 at 3:38 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Centennial Hill deadly shooting defendant Darius Thomas was sentenced to 85 years in prison Wednesday, Thomas pleaded guilty to three counts of murder in December.

The mothers of the three victims, Glenn Thomas also known as the rapper Doe B, Kimberle Johnson, and Timnarious Hamilton spoke to the Court before the sentence was handed down.

The testimony was emotional as each mother looked Darius Thomas in the eye saying they forgave him, and asked for the full range of punishment.

Shirley Thomas, mother of Doe B, was the first person to speak for the state.

"It's been a long battle losing our children", Shirley Thomas stated. "I forgave Darius and I want justice to be served."

The mother of Timnarious Hamilton, Torian Hamilton, fought back tears stating the loss of her son propelled her to launch an organization to keep this from happening to other families.  Hamilton stated, "There's a lot going on in the streets and in Montgomery", as Darius Thomas nodded in agreement.

"This is justice but it's not peace", Hamilton said. "I have prayed for you and prayed for you son."

Darius Thomas nodded and said thank you.

Barbara Green, mother of Kimberle Johnson was also emotional, stating the faith it's taken to make it through this journey. Green reiterated she too had forgiven Thomas .

"I have forgiven you and you have to forgive yourself." Darius Thomas nodded.

The state told the Court that rapper TI's record label, which signed Doe B, sent a letter to the judge. The prosecutor added that this reckless act claimed the life of a future social worker, rapper on the cusp of national fame, and a man who was enjoying his life. The state asked for the greatest punishment to be levied against Darius Thomas.

Members of Thomas' family also spoke to the court added that he had a clean record, but had fallen into the wrong crowd. They asked the court to have mercy on Thomas as he had five children.

Thomas spoke to the victim's families, by this time, many in the courtroom were sobbing.

Thomas apologized for the reckless act, also stating he had five children, then stating, "May God bless you."

Judge Greg Griffin told Darius Thomas that he should be thankful the District Attorneys Office put the plea back on the table for him the day his trial started.  Griffin reminded Thomas of sitting next to him in the judge's chambers where Griffin encouraged him to take the plea.

"I told you that was a plea you needed to take because I was 99 percent sure I would otherwise be sentencing you to life without parole", Griffin said of their meeting in December.

Griffin asked Thomas to address a group of teens in sitting in the jury box with a local non-profit leader, Charles Lee, who works to divert teens from a life of crime.

Thomas told the teens to avoid the path he took.

"Get a real job, find Jesus, and take life seriously", Thomas told the group. Be a man, mind your responsibilities and find God in your life. It took me coming here to find God."

Thomas also addressed the violence in Montgomery.

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people", Thomas said after a long pause. Your homeboy isn't your homeboy. Don't get in the wrong crowd."

Thomas explained he had children and had never been in the system until he got with the wrong crowd.

Thomas turned back around to the judge and Griffin handed down an 85 year sentence for each victim to be served concurrently, or stacked with the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Griffin stated each victim's name and the sentence, as he read Kimberle Johnson's name, the victim's mother Barbara Green collapsed in the courtroom.

Many in the courtroom say they had never witnessed anything like what transpired Wednesday.  Defense attorney Richard White said he could fill the Spirit in the courtroom. Most acknowledged the victims and defendants families are usually not at the point of forgiveness and remorse at this point in the judicial process.

Thomas is one of three defendants indicted in the Centennial Hill shooting. Jason McWilliams and Taboris Mock are awaiting trial.

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