Young Dolph murder suspect requests transfer from 201 Poplar over security concerns
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The two men charged in the death of Memphis rapper Young Dolph were back in court Friday. Nearly one year ago Young Dolph was gunned down at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies store in southeast Memphis.
Investigators identified 25-year-old Justin Johnson and 32-year-old Cornelius Smith as suspects in the shooting shortly after.
During Friday’s court appearance, an attorney for 25-year-old Justin Johnson requested a housing transfer due to security concerns at 201 Poplar.
Johnson, a pre-trial inmate, is requesting to be housed in the Shelby County Division of Corrections but Judge Lee Coffee says that decision will be left up to Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner.
The corrections division is for inmates who have been convicted of a crime and are serving time.
Chief Kirk Fields, the chief jailer at 201 Poplar, says to accommodate that request it depends on if Johnson has any pending federal charges.
As for Smith, Coffee asked him to continue to work with attorneys, saying if he wants a trial he can have one.
Lee and Chief Prosecutor Paul Hagerman are working to get the case tried before the end of 2023.
“We are trying to move fast. Everybody is aware the case has been pending for Almost a year,” said Hagerman. “We would like to get this case tried next year at the latest. So we are all working hard to do that.”
An official trial date has not been set.
Johnson and Smith are facing first-degree murder and several weapons charges in this case.
Investigators say the white Mercedes used in the crime was stolen from a gas station on Kirby just days before the shooting.
Young Dolph was killed on Nov.17, 2021, with tributes pouring in for weeks.
Makeda’s was forced to close for some time with community support helping them reopen just months ago.
Smith and Johnson remain in Shelby County jail without bond.
At last check, Johnson hired a new attorney to represent him back in September.
He’s also facing violation of sex offender registry charges in a case unrelated to the death of Young Dolph.
Smith and Johnson’s next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 20.
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