2 men accused in Young Dolph murder must have lawyers by next Friday, judge orders

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two men accused in the murder of rapper Young Dolph appeared in a Memphis courtroom Jan. 28 regarding their legal representation.

A judge ordered they must have attorneys by Feb. 4, or one would be appointed for them.

Cornelius Smith and Justin Johnson, also known as Straight Drop, face multiple charges in the beloved Memphis rapper’s killing.

Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was gunned down at Makeda’s Cookies in South Memphis on Nov. 17, 2021.

According to the store’s owner, two men pulled up in a white Mercedes, got out and opened fire.

MORE: 2 men indicted in murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph, officials say

A judge previously gave Smith and Johnson nine days to return to court with information about whether they have hired an attorney, or whether a public defender will be appointed.

Johnson had also been remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals following a federal warrant.

He’s accused of violating federal supervised release for a past weapons charge.

During their previous appearance in criminal court, the pair told a judge they did plan to hire a lawyer and that their families were helping them.

PHOTOS: Pictures of Young Dolph shooters released

After reported claims on social media to turn himself in, Johnson remained on the run until Jan. 11, when he was captured in Indiana.

On Jan. 12, officials released an official indictment against Smith and Johnson.

They were indicted on counts of first-degree premeditated murder, attempted first-degree murder, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and theft of property over $10,000, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the DA, the victim in the attempted murder charge is Young Dolph’s brother, who was with him at the cookie store at the time of the shooting.

Prior to his alleged involvement in the murder of Young Dolph, Johnson was arrested for a triple shooting at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes bowling alley in Memphis in 2017.

His five-year sentence for that shooting ended after just a few months when a judge OK’d his release.

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