A Tennessee judge has recused himself from the case involving four men accused of having a hand in the 2021 death of Young Dolph. As previously reported by REVOLT, the “Taking My Scale” artist was gunned down outside of Makeda’s Homemade Cookies in his hometown of Memphis. The beloved rapper is survived by his longtime girlfriend, Mia Jaye, and their two children, daughter Aria Ella and son Tre Tre Thornton.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee was ordered to step down on Friday (Oct. 27) by the state appeals court. Coffee’s removal from the high-profile case comes a month after a lawyer for suspect Justin Johnson told the courts that the magistrate was unable to impartially proceed with the case. Coffee initially rejected a motion for a new judge to be assigned on Sept. 28.

According to the Associated Press, lawyer Luke Evans requested the recusal after he claimed that Coffee failed to inform Johnson of a communication and visitation order restricting him from speaking to and seeing others outside of jail except for Evans.

The lawyer claims the judge issued the order without notification or a hearing. Despite Evans calling his decision “punitive,” Coffee rebutted that Johnson’s communication restrictions were to protect him. The judge also stated that he had not made a determination about the man’s guilt or innocence.

Justin and suspect Cornelius Smith were captured in Indiana and Mississippi, respectively, in January 2022. The men are charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and theft of property in connection with Dolph’s death. Jermarcus Johnson, Justin’s relative, turned himself in to the police in November 2022 and was charged with conspiracy to first-degree murder after being accused of helping Justin evade police. In June, Jermarcus pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in a plea deal. He was released on a $25,000 bond.

The fourth suspect, Hernandez Govan, was also indicted in November 2022. He is charged with conspiracy after being accused of hiring Justin and Smith to kill the Memphis rapper. Justin and Smith were scheduled to begin trial on March 11. It is unknown if the recusal will impact the date. The Criminal Court Clerk will oversee the reassignment of a new judge.