Man accused of organizing the killing of rapper Young Dolph | Ap-entertainment

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – A man accused of arranging the killing of Young Dolph pleaded not guilty Thursday – a year after the rapper and record label owner was shot dead in an ambush while buying cookies in a bakery in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Hernandez Govan, 43, made a brief appearance in Shelby County Criminal Court in Memphis. He was arrested last week after being indicted on charges including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the slaying of the rapper, who was 36 when he died. The judge scheduled Govan’s next hearing for December 16.

Govan is the third man charged in the Nov. 17, 2021 killing of Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Thornton Jr. The broad daylight murder stunned Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. Police said two men got out of a white Mercedes-Benz and fired at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies, which is located near the rapper’s childhood home in the Castalia neighborhood. Police released photos from surveillance video that captured the shooting, and authorities later found the car abandoned.

Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith Jr., have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting and are being held without bail. They are due to appear in court on January 20.

In a weekly newsletter, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said that Govan “urged the killing and set it in motion.” But no evidence has been made public to support that claim, and a suspected reason has not been disclosed. The investigation is ongoing.

“I know you all want details, you want facts, you want some sort of an answer to some of these mysteries and things like that,” prosecutor Paul Hagerman told reporters after Thursday’s hearing. “Even if we knew them, we couldn’t tell you. As a matter of ethics and for our legal requirements, we must limit ourselves to what is made public.”

Govan’s attorney, Bill Massey, said he was seeking prosecution evidence in the case, which Massey said may not go to trial until after next year due to the amount of evidence and number of defendants.

Known for his depictions of tough street life and his independent approach to the music business, Young Dolph was admired for his charity work in Memphis. He has organized Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, donated thousands of dollars to high schools, paid rent and covered funeral costs for people in the Castalia Heights neighborhood where he grew up.

His work as a rapper, producer and owner of the indie label ‘Paper Route Empire’ took him out of Memphis, but the father of two was back in town just days before his slaying to visit a sick relative and arrange a gift of turkey that took place without him.

After young Dolph’s death, a section of a street near his childhood home was renamed for him. He was given a private funeral and was honored during a public celebration at FedExForum, the home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzles and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

City officials and community activists also pointed to the killing as a symbol of the scourge of gun violence in Memphis. Since the rapper’s death, Memphis has seen several more high-profile murders this year, including the killing of a United Methodist Church pastor during a carjacking in his driveway; the kidnapping and killing of an elementary school teacher who police say was abducted during a morning jog; and a one-man shooting rampage that was partially streamed and led to the deaths of three people.

Young Dolph was born in Chicago and moved to Memphis with his parents when he was 2 years old. He has released numerous mixtapes, starting with 2008’s “Paper Route Campaign” and several studio albums, including his 2016 debut “King of Memphis”. He has also collaborated on other mixtapes and albums with other rappers Key Glock, Megan Thee Stallion, TI, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and others.

He has had three albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200, with 2020’s “Rich Slave” peaking at No. 4.

Makeda’s, the bakery where he was shot, was boarded up before reopening in September.

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