Michael Thomas pleads guilty, gets 40 years for 2022 murder

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Michael “Traedoe” Thomas, 28, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the shooting death of Johnny Ricardo Mason on Jan. 4, 2022.

Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree homicide in Sixth District Circuit Court earlier in June. Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell ordered a pre-sentencing investigation before sentencing him.

Sixth Circuit District Attorney Tim Cotton asked that Thomas be sentenced to 40 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. That was the sentence Blackwell handed down on Wednesday afternoon.

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More than 100 people were in the courtroom Wednesday when Thomas was sentenced.

“Given the fact that Thomas has a violent history that dates back to 2018, the only mitigation we felt he was afforded was actually from the victim’s family themselves, and that was to allow Thomas to plead to second-degree homicide instead of proceeding to trial on first-degree homicide,” Cotton said.

Thomas, who goes by the nickname Traedoe, considers himself a rapper, and a video was created and posted on YouTube, which Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said centers on a murder Thomas committed. Patten said the video has since been removed from public view.

“I’m glad he got 40 years,” Patten said. “Natchez is better off without him.”

Thomas was on the run for 24 hours before turning himself into the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. Thomas shot and killed Mason on Jan. 4, 2022, near Holiday Apartments in Natchez. Natchez Police officials at the time said other people, including children, were in the area when the shooting occurred.

Police said Mason identified Michael Thomas as his shooter before he died at Merit Health Natchez from a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen.

Thomas was sentenced to five years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for an aggravated assault charge beginning in 2018. He was released after serving three years of that sentence.

Thomas was arrested again in June 2021 after kidnapping his girlfriend at gunpoint. However, Natchez Police officials said the girlfriend “backpedaled” and refused to press charges.