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Suspect in Young Dolph murder appears in Shelby County court

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:26 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of three men charged with the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph made his first court appearance in a Shelby County courtroom Thursday morning.

Cornelius Smith, 32, is charged with first-degree murder for the Nov. 17 shooting death of Young Dolph, whose birth name is Adolph Thornton Jr.

Smith was arrested in Southaven in December on a warrant for the theft of a white Mercedes Benz used in the murder. He was indicted along with 23-year-old Justin Johnson Wednesday. Johnson, who police named as a suspect late last week and was wanted on a first-degree murder warrant, was captured by U.S. Marshals in Indiana Tuesday and is awaiting extradition.

RELATED | More arrests ‘very possible’ in Young Dolph murder

Smith and Johnson are indicted on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, using a firearm during a felony and property theft.

A third man, Shundale Barnett, is facing charges as being an accessory to Young Dolph’s murder after the fact. He was a passenger in Johnson’s car when marshals arrested him, and investigators believe Barnett was helping Johnson since after the murder.

Smith’s hearing Thursday was a video arraignment.

We’ll have updates on the case throughout the day.

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