Reports: Man who rented car in Hairston case is a convicted felon
The P.J. Hairston case at North Carolina took a turn for the worse this week, when it was revealed the man who rented the car has been arrested four times.
On Wednesday USA Today first reported a man named Haydn "Fats" Thomas rented the 2013 GMC Yukon Hairston was driving in Durham the night he was apprehended with two other men. All three face marijuana misdemeanor charges. Thomas told USA Today he did not personally know Hairston, but did know Miykael Faulcon, another one of the men in the car at the time of the arrest, which included a 9mm gun -- and nine rounds of ammunition -- outside of the Yukon and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.
"I don't know P.J. Hairston," Thomas told USA TODAY Sports. "I know Miykael, his friend. I don't know anyone at Carolina. I don't even like the Carolina team. Look at the age disparity between me and those boys. I could be their father."
But a report from the Raleigh News & Observer on Friday offered up details regarding Thomas that could contradict his statement to USA Today. The newspaper reports Thomas is a convicted felon who "has business ties to an adjunct faculty member at the UNC School of Dentistry."
The News & Observer's Laura Keeley also spoke with Thomas, and he admitted to casually getting to know some UNC athletes by way of hosting parties. The details of his past encounters with the law include:
Thomas, 39, has four aliases, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Thomas also has an extensive criminal background, with arrests in Wake, Durham, Orange, Alamance, and Guilford counties, according to public records. Many of his charges are drug and gun related. He has never served time in jail or prison, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Thomas, who has three active corporations registered under his aliases with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, also has business ties to Spencer B. Howard, a graduate and adjunct faculty member at the UNC School of Dentistry, according to his biography. Thomas said Howard is his “blood related,” cousin.
The report also notes Thomas' most recent arrest, which came in December and had three charges attached to it, all related to drugs and guns.
Thomas denied owning the gun and the marijuana at the scene of Hairston's arrest. The car rental was reportedly for three days at a cost of $1,261.64.
Hairston has not yet been punished by UNC; Heels coach Roy Williams has said he'll wait for the judicial system to play out before taking action. Hairston's next step in the process will be two to-be-determined court dates in August.
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