The third suspect charged with Young Dolph’s murder, Hernandez Govan, has pleaded not guilty to killing the rapper.
Hernandez appeared in the Shelby County Criminal Court in Memphis on Thursday, exactly a year after Dolph was killed. Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., was gunned down in cold blood on November 17, 2021, at the local store Makeda’s Cookies while buying bread. At the time, he was with his brother, who narrowly escaped with his life.
Govan’s lawyer Bill Massey on Thursday addressed a Memphis courtroom, stating that his client was “not the shooter,” and “not a killer.”
Govan was charged last week with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after a grand jury indictment. Police allege that Govan, 43, had planned Dolph’s murder months in advance. Shelby County’s District Attorney Steve Mulroy said that Govan was the person who ordered the hit on Young Dolph months before the rapper’s death.
“Mr. Govan has been indicted and is in custody for being involved in the Young Dolph murder. He played the role of the person who solicited the murder,” Mulroy said.
In a weekly newsletter, Mulroy described Govan as having “solicited the murder and put it in motion.”
The D.A also gave a public statement that the investigation is ongoing. Previously, Shelby County officials had named two other suspects. Prosecutor Paul Hagerman also stated on Thursday after the hearing, “I know that you all are wanting details, you’re wanting facts, you’re wanting sort of answers to some of these mysteries and things like that,” Hagerman said.
He continued, “even if we knew them, we couldn’t tell you. As a matter of ethics and our requirements under the law, we’ve got to confine ourselves to what’s made public.”
While not sharing more details, the prosecutor alleged that the conspiracy to kill the rapper took place on June 1, which is the date listed in the indictment.
In the meantime, the two alleged gunmen are said to be two other suspects, Justin Johnson, 23, and Cornelius Smith Jr., 32, who was arrested months after the rapper’s killing.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to first-degree and attempted first-degree murder and other charges. They are scheduled to return to court on January 20, while Govan is set to return to court on December 16, 2022.
Hernandez Govan is also the father of slain rapper Lotta Cash Desto, who was shot and killed in Houston, Texas in September.