Attorneys announced for 2 men accused in Young Dolph murder; both enter not guilty pleas

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At least one man accused of killing Memphis rapper Young Dolph has hired an attorney.

Justin Johnson, aka Straight Drop, and Cornelius Smith appeared in criminal court Feb. 11.

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Judge Lee Coffee had given them three weeks to hire an attorney to represent them in the murder case.

Smith showed up with attorney Michael Scholl, who said he’s been speaking with Smith’s family for several weeks.

Scholl said the case would be like any other handled at 201.

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“We made our statement this morning by entering a not guilty plea,” he said.

Lawyers for both men said they entered not guilty pleas.

Johnson previously told the judge he couldn’t afford an attorney and showed up without one.

He asked for more time to allow his family to hire an attorney; that request was denied.

The judge appointed attorney Juni Gangulli to represent Johnson. Gangulli no stranger to high profile cases.

FOX13 spoke with him after the judge appointed him to represent Johnson.

Gangulli said he’s ready to take on the challenge of the case. He said the best outcome would be to get an acquittal at trial.

“Not everyone gets convicted,” he said.

Assistant district attorney Paul Hagerman said, “We are already past ready for justice in this case, numerous other cases too. The system has to work, we have to give it time to work.”

Both Johnson and Smith will be back in court March 24.

Johnson will appear in general sessions court Feb. 14 for an unrelated charge.

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