A Shelby County judge has set a date for the trial of two men accused of killing Memphis rapper Young Dolph in 2021.
On Friday, Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee set down a tentative date for the trial of Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith to stand trial on March 11, 2024, for the death of Dolph, who was shot and killed while at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies in Memphis.
The men have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges, Billboard reported. Two other suspects have also been charged; the half-brother of Justin Johnson, whose real name is Jermarcus Johnson, pleaded guilty to three counts of accessory after the fact back in June.
Jemarcus is likely to be called to the stand by prosecutors to testify to certain facts related to Johnson and Smith. According to prosecutors, Jemarcus confessed to cops that he facilitated the two main suspects to communicate via cell phone as they tried to elude cops from pursuing them.
He also said he facilitated a conversation between one of the suspects and his probation officer while he was on the run.
Chief Prosecutor Paul Hagerman Jermarcus identified Justin as one of the suspects who was seen on surveillance video shooting Young Dolph.
Hagerman also said that Jermarcus had no role in the actual killing of Young Dolph, but he appeared to know details about their activities post-shooting and participated in the wider plan to kill the artist. It’s unclear the motive behind the rapper’s killing.
“Conspiracy is a wide range of things. They include people that were acting in the conspiracy before the murder happened. But also the people that were acting afterward. The charges that have been filed now against Jemarcus make it clear that he did things afterward,” the prosecutor previously said.
In the meantime, the fourth suspect Hernandez Govan has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors say that Govans is the mastermind behind the murder of the rapper. He is presently on bond.
As the trial sets its course, a person of interest, Joshua Taylor, aka CEO Teezy, won’t be arraigned as he was shot and killed in Memphis last month. His body was found in the parking lot close to a church in the vicinity of Spottswood Avenue and Buntyn Street in the Orange Mound district of Memphis.