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One suspect arrested, another man indicted in rapper Young Dolph's slaying in Memphis

Justin Johnson was apprehended Tuesday in Indiana, and Cornelius Smith, who has been in custody since Dec. 9, was indicted, officials said.
Image: Young Dolph
Young Dolph performs in Atlanta on Aug. 23, 2020. Paul R. Giunta / Invision/AP file

Two men accused in the killing of rapper Young Dolph in Memphis, Tennessee, in November are in custody, authorities said Tuesday.

Justin Johnson, 23, who was named as a suspect last week, was apprehended in Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

The other man, Cornelius Smith, 32, who was already in custody, was indicted Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a statement.

Young Dolph, 36, was at a bakery in Memphis, his hometown, on Nov. 17 when he was fatally shot after two men got out of a Mercedes-Benz and opened fire, Memphis police have said.

Authorities have not publicly suggested a motive.

The marshals service said last week that an arrest warrant had been issued for Johnson in connection with the slaying. A $15,000 reward had been offered.

It was not immediately clear whether Johnson had an attorney.

The marshals statement Tuesday did not say where in Indiana Johnson was arrested. A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday.

Smith was arrested Dec. 9 in Southaven on an auto theft warrant related to the Mercedes used in the killing, Weirich said.

He also faces an attempted murder charge and other counts. Young Dolph’s brother, who was with him at the time of the killing, was the victim in the attempted murder, Weirich said. Police said no one else was shot.

Online court records did not appear to show an attorney for Smith on Tuesday night. He was extradited to Shelby County and was being held without bail, Weirich said.

Young Dolph, whose name was Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was in Memphis for an annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway when he was killed, his attorney said at the time.

Young Dolph, who launched his career with a series of mixtapes beginning in 2008, moved up the hip-hop ranks and the Billboard charts in 2016 with gold-certified hits like “100 Shots.” His 2020 album, “Rich Slave,” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

Chance the Rapper and Gucci Mane were among the musicians who expressed shock and sadness over his death. A public memorial was held at the FedExForum, which is the home of the Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team.