Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Judge: Young Dolph murder case may not come to trial for years

by: David RoyerJordan James

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The judge handling the criminal case against two men accused of killing rapper Young Dolph last year told the victim’s family Friday that it may be years before they see justice.

Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith appeared in Judge Lee Coffee’s Memphis courtroom for a bond hearing Friday.

The pair is accused of carrying out the attack on Young Dolph, real name Adolph Thornton Jr., last year at Makeda’s Cookies, where the rapper was shot multiple times and killed. Since January, the duo has been held without bond.

Friday’s hearing was supposed to discuss bond.

The attorney representing the men is still going through the process of discovery, Coffee said.

As a result of both attorneys still gathering evidence, the judge decided to grant an extension until July 1, meaning no bond until at least then.

“One of the factors, with regards to bond, is likelihood of conviction other factor are flight risk those type of things so we need to have enough information for the judge so he can base an opinion,” said Michael Scholl, Cornelius Smith’s attorney.

Under Tennessee law, everyone is guaranteed a bond unless you are charged with a capital offense.

“When you ask for a bond especially for a case like this type a lot of times the bond may be too high to even make, but we wanna try to give it a shot because he is entitled to a bond,” Scholl said.

After the hearing was reset, Coffee told a family member of the victim who was in court that a trial probably would not happen in either 2022 or 2023.

“This case is probably going to be in this court for a while,” he said. “It takes a while for first-degree murder cases to be at a point where they can be tried.”

It remains to be seen if the case will go to trial or if the defendants will accept a plea deal. Scholl says they are weighing their options. 

“It’s just way too early on the case to tell you which way we’re going on a decision on this case, and we’re gonna look at everything in great detail and defend him vigorously,” Scholl said.

The pair pleaded not guilty in a February hearing.

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