The men who allegedly killed Young Dolph made their first appearance in court on Wednesday (January 19).
Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith were arraigned at the Shelby County Criminal Court in Memphis, Tennessee. Their court hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday (January 18), but it was pushed back because the case was transferred to a new judge.
The Young Dolph murder suspects did not have lawyers with them at the hearing. Both men declined public defenders, telling the judge they could afford an attorney.
Judge Lee Coffee ordered them to return to court on January 28 to make sure they’ve hired representation.
“This judge wants to make sure these defendants have an attorney sooner rather than later,” Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman said.
Johnson and Smith are charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony and theft of property over $10,000. Prosecutors could seek the death penalty in the Young Dolph murder case.
“We wouldn’t be here without strong evidence against them,” Hagerman told FOX 13. “We are confident, and y’all saw the video from November 17. We had those people in court today.”
A third man named Shundale Barnett has been charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Barnett wasn’t involved in the shooting of Young Dolph, but he allegedly helped Johnson evade the law.
Barnett is still in custody in Indiana. According to the District Attorney’s Office, he remains there for security reasons.