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New information on suspects in Young Dolph’s murder; third man faces accessory charge

Cornelius Smith and Justin Johnson have been indicted in the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph. A third man, Shundale Barnett, faces accessory charges.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — A news conference with U.S. Marshals, Memphis Police, and the Shelby County District Attorney is set for Wednesday, to discuss the arrests of the suspects in the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph.

You can watch the live stream of the news conference above or here.

Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith are both in custody and have been indicted in the November 17, 2021, killing of 36-year-old Adolph Thornton Jr., known as Young Dolph. Dolph was shot and killed at a popular cookie shop in south Memphis.

A third man, Shundale Barnett, is facing accessory after the fact charges.

Read the full indictment HERE.

RELATED: Justin Johnson, suspect in Young Dolph's murder, captured in Indiana

Justin Johnson

U.S. Marshals announced the capture of 23-year-old Justin Johnson, who also goes by the name Straight Drop, Tuesday in Indiana, after identifying him as a suspect last week and offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to his capture on the first-degree murder warrant.

The Marshals said Johnson was arrested at a truck stop on Highway 42 in Brazil, Indiana, outside of Terra Haute.

RELATED: Man accused of killing Young Dolph was sentenced to 5 years for a 2017 shooting | So why was he out of prison?

Credit: U.S. Marshals
Justin Johnson

Shundale Barnett

At a news conference Wednesday, U.S. Marshals said Shundale Barnett, originally from Memphis but living in Texas - was assisting Johnson when he was on the run. 

They said Barnett was a passenger in the car with Johnson at the time of Johnson's arrest. Investigators said Barnett was helping Johnson after the shooting. 

Barnett is charged with accessory after the fact to first degree murder, criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, and theft of property $10,000 to $60,000.

Barnett remains in custody in the Clay County, Indiana, Jail and awaits extradition to Shelby County.

Credit: Clay County, Indiana, jail
Shundale Barnett
Credit: U.S. Marshals Service
Shundale Barnett

Cornelius Smith

A short time Tuesday after the announcement of Johnson’s arrest, the Shelby County District Attorney said Cornelius Smith had been indicted in Dolph’s murder.

The D.A. said a grand jury indicted 32-year-old Cornelius Smith Tuesday for first-degree 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. Smith is being held without bond.

The D.A. said the victim in the attempted murder charge was Young Dolph’s brother, who was with the rapper at the time of the shooting.

RELATED: Second suspect indicted in murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph

The D.A. said Smith was arrested on December 9, 2021, in Southaven, Mississippi, on an auto-theft warrant involving the white Mercedes Benz vehicle used in Dolph’s killing. The D.A. said Mercedes was taken in a carjacking on Nov. 10, 2021, at a gas station in the 2800 block of Kirby Road. It was found abandoned on November 20 behind a home in the 1100 block of Bradley in Orange Mound.

Smith was extradited from DeSoto County Tuesday, where he had been held since his arrest, and transferred to the Shelby County Jail.

Credit: WATN
Cornelius Smith

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