Rapper Young Dolph backstage during day 1 of 2021 ONE Musicfest at Centennial Olympic Park on October 9, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Source: Prince Williams/Wireimage

Will Young Dolph's Family Ever Get Justice? Rapper's Murder Trial Delayed

The Young Dolph's murder trial has experienced multiple delays, making it impossible for the slain rapper's family to receive justice.


May 29 2024, Published 12:21 a.m. ET

The murder trial for Memphis rapper Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Thorton Jr., has been pushed back once again. The trial for Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith Jr., the two men charged with the rapper's murder, has experienced multiple delays.

According to The Associated Press, the trial was initially scheduled for March 11th but recently moved to June 3rd. It is now delayed until later this year, in September. This delay stems from the defense's request for more time to review evidence and prepare their case, a motion the prosecution did not oppose.

young dolph in concert
Source: Getty Images/Paras Griffin

Rapper Young Dolph performs on stage during the Parking Lot Concert series.

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In February, Judge Jennifer J. Mitchell granted a change of venue for the trial, agreeing with Johnson's lawyer that intense media coverage and public outrage would prevent a fair trial. To ensure impartiality, a jury will be brought in from outside Shelby County.

The Dolph's murder trial has experienced multiple delays, making it impossible for the slain rapper's family to receive justice. Amid the ongoing court case, Dolph's family shared their frustrations on social media.

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Young Dolph's fiancé demands justice amid his delayed murder trial.

Nearly three years after the murder of Young Dolph, his fiancé and the mother of his kids, Mia Jaye, is still working hard to preserve his legacy — from trips to The White House to her social justice movement, Black Men Deserve to Grow Old.

Following news that the trial had been delayed, Mia shared a post on her Instagram pushing for her late fiancé's death to be taken seriously. She expressed her disappointment in how the Memphis Attorney General's Office is (mis)handling the case.

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"I have never followed or understood the intricacies of how the justice system works until I was impacted by crime and forced to demand justice," Mia wrote on Instagram. "As the case was happening, I noticed weird occurrences but tried not to worry because I placed my faith in the belief that justice would be had."

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She called out Memphis politician Steve Mulroy on Instagram for not staying true to his words. Earlier this week, she called out Memphis politician Steve Mulroy for not staying true to his commitment to change," she wrote in the post. "If you have been following this case, you can see so many peculiar things happening that just [don’t] make sense."

Here's everything you need to know about the events leading up to Young Dolph's death.

On November 17th, 2021, Young Dolph was gunned down outside of a local bakery, Makeda's Homemade Butter Cookies. He was buying cookies when two gunmen opened fire.

The suspects, Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith Jr., were arrested and charged with first-degree murder, criminal attempted first-degree murder, unlawful carrying and possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm with intent to commit a felony, and theft of property.

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young dolph memorial
Source: Getty Images/Justin Ford

Fans of Young Dolph set up a memorial outside of Makeda's Cookies bakery

According to ABC 24, another key suspect in the case, Hernandez Govan, stands accused of ordering the hit on Young Dolph. He faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Govan is currently out on a $90,000 bond and remains under house arrest.

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Additionally, Jermarcus Johnson, who pleaded guilty to three counts of accessory after the fact, provided crucial information on other suspects in the case. He faces six to twelve years in prison and has bonded out while awaiting sentencing.

This high-profile case has drawn significant attention and highlights the challenges of administering justice amidst a media firestorm.

Young Dolph performs onstage at night three of the STAPLES Center Concert, sponsored by Sprite, during the 2017 BET Experience at Staples Center on June 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Source: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
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The delays and changes in trial scheduling reflect the complexities of the justice system. As the trial date approaches, the community awaits justice for Young Dolph, whose untimely death has left an indelible mark on Memphis and the music industry.

His legacy as a gifted artist and a generous community figure endures, cementing his impact on his fans and hometown. Young Dolph's dedication to his craft and community continues to inspire, even as the legal proceedings surrounding his death unfold.

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