The trial for two suspects accused of having roles in the 2021 death of Young Dolph will not be delayed despite a judge’s recent ruling on a motion that uses a jury of non-Memphis citizens.
As previously reported by REVOLT, attorney Luke Evans filed a motion on behalf of Justin Johnson requesting a change of venue or that an outside jury be considered for the high-profile case. “Since the time of the victim’s death in this matter, the victim has been portrayed in the media as a philanthropist, a ‘hero,’ and the ‘king of Memphis,’ ‘a trailblazing creative’ whose life was dedicated to giving back to the community… In contrast, the media focused on the accused’s ‘history of violent crime,’” he wrote. In a Feb. 2 hearing, Evans claimed that a fair trial would not be possible due to the high intensity of media coverage in the wake of Dolph’s passing.
On Friday (Feb. 9), Judge Jennifer J. Mitchell agreed that a jury would be selected from outside of Memphis. The trial, however, will remain in Shelby County and is still scheduled to begin on June 3 following a May 3 status hearing. Justin and his alleged co-conspirator, Cornelius Smith, are charged with first-degree murder, criminal attempted first-degree murder, unlawful carrying and possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm with intent to commit a felony and theft of property. Prosecutors say the men are responsible for gunning down the “Talking To My Scale” rapper.
“This isn’t even a roadblock or anything like that. This just means for a couple of days we will go somewhere and get a group of citizens and bring them back here and ask them to do the right thing,” Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagerman told the media after learning of Mitchell’s decision.
Dolph’s fiancée, Mia Jaye, wants all parties involved in the tragic killing to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. “This is a premeditated offense and should be charged as a capital murder case. We won’t accept a slap on the wrist as satisfactory justice,” she wrote in a November open letter.
In addition to the two men, Jermarcus Johnson, Justin’s half brother, and Hernandez Govan have been charged in connection with the tragedy that stunned the Hip Hop community.