In a court announcement made on Friday (July 14), two men accused in the fatal shooting of Young Dolph had their trial scheduled for March 11. Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith are suspected of the rapper’s tragic assassination during a daylight attack at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies.
Pleading not guilty to charges that include first-degree murder, Johnson and Smith have yet to disclose a motive for the November 2021 slaying of the 36-year-old rapper. The prosecution asserted that the duo pulled up to the bakery in a stolen Mercedes Benz and fatally fired upon Dolph as he made a cookie purchase close to his childhood home. Subsequently, the brazen killing sparked widespread grief across Memphis and the music industry as a whole.
Further entangled in the case is Jermarcus Johnson, the suspect’s half-brother. He admitted on June 9 to acting as an accessory after the fact on three counts. Evidence revealed that he assisted the main suspects in communicating via cell phone after the murder. Additionally, Jermarcus allegedly facilitated communication between one of the suspects and his probation officer following the crime.
According to Billboard, prosecutor Paul Hagerman revealed during Jermarcus’ cross-examination that he also accepted a car from Justin. However, it’s not linked to the crime. They were also able to identify a photograph showing Justin wearing clothing matching that of one of Dolph’s assailants on the day of the homicide. Hagerman emphasized that while Jermarcus had no direct involvement in the musician’s killing, his actions connect him to the crime.
Charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy, third primary suspect Hernandez Govan also stands accused of orchestrating the killing. Despite pleading not guilty, Govan is currently out on bond and awaiting trial.
Makeda’s Homemade Cookies closed for several months after the shooting but has since reopened its doors. Previously, the bakery was transformed into an ad hoc memorial site for the late artist.
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