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2 suspects in custody and charged with first-degree murder of Tennessee rapper Young Dolph, authorities say

Source: MEGA; U.S. Marshals

Jan. 12 2022, Published 4:15 p.m. ET

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A suspect wanted for the shooting of a Tennessee rapper has been arrested, authorities said.

In November, 36-year-old Adolph Thornton Jr., who went by the stage name Young Dolph, was ambushed and fatally shot at the popular Memphis cookie shop Makeda’s.

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On Jan. 11, federal marshals took Justin Johnson, 23, into custody in Indiana on a first-degree murder warrant, The New York Times reported. Johnson, a rapper known by the stage name Straight Drop, has said on social media that he is not guilty of killing the entertainer.

The same day as Johnson's arrest, a grand jury in Tennessee indicted another suspect in the case, Cornelius Smith, 32, on charges ranging from first-degree murder to property theft, said Shelby County district attorney general, Amy Weirich.

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Smith was arrested on Dec. 9 on an auto-theft warrant in connection to an alleged getaway vehicle used in Young Dolph’s slaying.

According to WMC-TV, Memphis mayor Jim Strickland said Johnson was at a bowling alley in 2017 and got into an altercation that led to him shooting and injuring four people. Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and served six months behind bars.

“Fast forward today, and he’s wanted for murder,” said Strickland, who noted, “Current law does not adequately punish gun crimes, and these aggravated assaults are the biggest drivers of our violent crime rate.”


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