Young Dolph shooting suspect Justin Johnson in court for sex offender violation

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 4:39 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:52 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A man once on TBI’s most wanted list is behind bars this morning and appeared before a judge at 9 a.m.

Today, 23-year-old Justin Johnson was in court for one charge of failure of a Tennessee sexual offender to timely report or register.

In 2015, Johnson was convicted of aggravated rape and is required to report in every March, June, September and December to MPD. He did not report to MPD in December 2021 and is in violation of the sex offender tracking and verification act of 2004.

The court hearing was short, in which the judge instructed Johnson that he will need a lawyer by his next court date.

His next day in court for this charge has been set for Tuesday, January 18.

Johnson is also one of three suspects charged in connection to the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph.

Johnson is back in Memphis in the Shelby County Jail after his extradition from Indiana.

It’s been a nearly two-month search to identify and find the men accused of killing Young Dolph. Investigators say after identifying Johnson as a suspect they followed up on tips from all over the U.S. including: Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Hampton, Virginia.

It wasn’t until Tuesday, when Johnson was spotted on Highway 42 in Indiana, that he was captured by U.S. Marshals.

He will be facing several other charges in court at a later date:

  • First-degree murder
  • Criminal attempt first-degree murder
  • Unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon
  • Employ firearm with intent to commit felony
  • Theft of property 10,000-$60,000
  • Violation of sex offender registry act

District Attorney General Amy Weirich says this case isn’t Johnson’s first run-in with the law.

“In July in 2015 at the age of 17, he was charged with aggravated rape and aggravated robbery at gunpoint. The victim, in that case, was a woman and he was found delinquent. He was placed into the custody of children’s services until his 19th birthday,” Weirich said.

Also, back in 2017, court documents showed Johnson served six months of a five-year sentence for shooting and injuring three people after a bowling alley argument. After he got out of prison early for being a model inmate, Shelby County court documents show he was arrested a month later with drugs and a gun.

Johnson is one of three suspects charged in connection to the murder of Young Dolph.

32-year-old Cornelius Smith stood before a judge for the first yesterday time since being arrested earlier this week.

It was a short hearing, lasting less than one minute. Smith appeared handcuffed in a red jumpsuit and mask. He now sits at 201 Poplar without bond.

Smith faces several charges including:

  • First-degree murder
  • Attempted first-degree murder (for shooting at Young Dolph’s brother who was with the rapper when he was killed)
  • Being a felon in possession of a firearm
  • Employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony
  • Theft over $10,000

Johnson’s alleged passenger, Shundale Barnett, was also arrested for accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.

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