Young Dolph
Tributes Pour In For Memphis Rapper Young Dolph After Fatal Shooting Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images

The two suspects indicted in the murder of rapper Young Dolph appeared in court on Wednesday for their arraignment. This marks their first court hearing in Shelby County Criminal Court as they face first-degree murder charges.

Both men, Justin Johnson, 23, and Cornelius Smith, 32, are facing multiple charges including attempted murder of Young Dolph’s brother who was with the rapper when he was killed, as well as a felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony and property theft amounting to well over $10,000.

According to ABC News, the two suspects who are originally from Memphis, have declined to avail of public defenders as they asked for more time to hire their own legal representations before their next court hearing.

A third suspect in the murder case, Shundale Barnett, 26, is currently awaiting extradition from Indiana and is also facing multiple charges including accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Smith on the other hand was arrested on Dec. 9 on an auto theft warrant in relation to the white Mercedez Benz that was used during the bakery shooting that claimed Young Dolph’s life. US Marshals said the vehicle was taken during a carjacking on Nov.10 at a gas station. Three days after the murder, police found the vehicle abandoned behind a home in Orange Mound. Smith has been extradited from Mississippi to Tennessee as he also faces charges for failure to register and report as a sex offender.

After a long manhunt, Johnson was captured in Indiana on Jan. 11. Memphis rap enthusiasts are quite familiar with the suspect as he is known in the local hip-hop scene as rapper Straight Drop. Johnson was convicted of aggravated rape in 2015 and is required to report every March, June, September, and December to MPD. He also failed to report to MPD in December 2021.

Both Johnson and Smith are being held without bond.

A tribute album for Young Dolph will be released this week by the late rapper’s label, Paper Route Entertainment. The album is entitled “ Long Life Dolph”.

Young Dolph leaves behind two children, son Tre and daughter Ari. Both his kids are with longtime partner Mia Jaye.

A man places flowers at the memorial for Young Dolph outside of Makeda's Cookies bakery
A man places flowers at the memorial for Young Dolph outside of Makeda's Cookies bakery on November 18, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee. Rapper Young Dolph, born as Adolph Thorton Jr., was killed at the age of 36 in a shooting at Makeda's Cookies bakery on November 17th in Memphis. Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

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