Young Dolph Murder Suspects Have One Week To Hire Lawyers

“I cannot allow you to sit in jail week after week, month after month, without a lawyer,” a judge told the men.

Two men facing multiple charges in the brazen daylight shooting death of rapper Young Dolph have a week to hire their own lawyer.

Judge Lee Coffee has given Justin Johnson, 23, and Cornelius Smith, 32, until 9 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 4.) to find legal representation or they’ll be assigned a public defender, FOX13 Memphis reports. During their first hearing in early January, both men informed Judge Coffee that they were in the process of hiring attorneys.

RELATED: Young Dolph Murder Suspect Captured In Indiana

Both Johnson and Smith said their families were helping to hire lawyers, and that representation would be present by February 4. They face multiple charges, including first-degree premeditated murder, attempted first-degree murder, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and theft of property over $10,000, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

“If you have a lawyer hired, that’s fine, but as I told you 10 days ago, I cannot allow you to sit in jail week after week, month after month, without a lawyer,” Coffee told the men in court Friday. “If you don’t have a lawyer hired on Feb. 4, I’m going to hire a private attorney to represent both of you all.”

Johnson made claims on January 9 that he would turn himself in on January 11. He was captured in Indiana on the 11th, along with 26-year-old Shundale Barnett, who was with Johnson at the time of the arrest. Eventually, Barnett received a few charges: accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

The following day (Jan. 12), officials released an indictment on both Smith and Johnson.

As for Smith, he was extradited from a Mississippi jail. He had been held there on a theft charge since December 9.

Young Dolph was fatally shot on November 17, 2021, while inside Makeda’s Cookie Shop in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

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