Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.19.2022

The two men accused of fatally shooting Young Dolph have made their first court appearance in Memphis for the killing.

On Wednesday morning (Jan. 19), Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith were arraigned. The hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday (Jan. 18), but was postponed because the case was transferred to a new judge. Smith and Johnson told the judge that they need about a week to hire a lawyer. They also said that they can afford to retain their own attorneys and do not need one appointed to them. The judge ordered the men to return to court on Jan. 28 to see if they have retained representation by then.

“This judge wants to make sure these defendants have an attorney sooner rather than later,” prosecutor Paul Hagerman said following the hearing. “Memphis wants some closure to this thing, and family and media, too.”

As REVOLT previously reported, Johnson, also known under the rap moniker Straight Drop, and Smith have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and theft of property valuing more than $10,000.

Both men are accused of being the masked gunmen who fatally shot Dolph as he was purchasing cookies in his hometown of Memphis back in November. Johnson was detained in Indiana on Jan. 11 after U.S. Marshals announced a $15,000 reward for his arrest. Smith was arrested back in December on an auto-theft warrant that involved the white Mercedes Benz that was used in the “Preach” rapper’s shooting.

A third suspect, Shundale Barnett, is facing charges of accessory after the fact for helping Johnson while he was on the run from authorities. He is currently being held in Indiana for security reasons, according to the district attorney’s office.

Johnson and Smith are being held without bond.



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