Trials Loom For Defendants Suspected Of Rapper Young Dolph’s Pre-Thanksgiving Murder

The entertainer and businessman was gunned down in November 2021 while buying cookies at a Memphis bakery.

Rapper Young Dolph performs on stage during the Parking Lot Concert series at Gateway Center Arena on August 23, 2020 in College Park, Georgia.

Rapper Young Dolph was killed in an ambush at a Memphis bakery while visiting his hometown shortly before Thanksgiving two years ago.

Photo by: Paras Griffin via Getty Images

Paras Griffin via Getty Images

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A rapper and businessman appreciated for his charity work was killed in an ambush at a Memphis bakery while visiting his hometown shortly before Thanksgiving two years ago.

On Nov. 17, 2021, Adolph Thornton Jr., who was known by his stage name Young Dolph, went into Makeda’s Homemade Cookies to purchase cookies. Police said that while he was at the bakery, two men, later identified as Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith, arrived in a stolen Mercedes Benz and allegedly shot and killed the entertainer, the Associated Press reported.

The pair pleaded not guilty after they were each charged with first-degree murder. They are being held without bond and currently scheduled to go to trial in March 2024.

As part of a plea deal, Jermarcus Johnson, the 26-year-old half-brother of Justin Johnson, admitted that he helped the two murder suspects communicate via cell phone with each other and one with a probation officer while they were still at large, according to the AP.

In June 2023, he pleaded guilty to three counts of accessory after the fact. While he will now avoid going to trial in his own case, he may also be called as a witness in the trials of the remaining three defendants, including that of his half-brother, Justin Johnson.

He could face up to 12 years behind bars when he is sentenced, the AP reported.

According to ABC News, prosecutors do not believe Jermarcus Johnson was otherwise involved in planning or carrying out the plot to execute Young Dolph.

A fourth defendant, Hernandez Govan, was on house arrest after he was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in connection with the case.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators have not publicly disclosed a possible motive for the rapper’s slaying.

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