Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee revoked the phone privileges of a defendant in the ongoing Young Dolph murder investigation after Coffee learned the man, Justin Johnson, rapped into a jail phone to release a song.
Coffee’s action came Tuesday (Nov. 21) after Johnson used his stage name, Straight Drop, to release the song, which was posted on YouTube, and featured lyrics about Johnson’s stay in jail.
The judge also announced that Johnson had been placed in “segregation,” or “administrative isolation.” Coffee said all phone privileges are suspended except for phone calls with his attorney.
The action against Justin Johnson was the latest in a string of developments in the investigation into Young Dolph’s (whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr.) ambush slaying more than a year ago.
Friday (Nov. 18), a fourth defendant was arrested after he turned himself in to the police.
Jermarcus Johnson, 25, had been indicted for criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Jermarcus Johnson, Justin Johnson’s half-brother, is accused of aiding in the escape and concealment of accused shooters Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith, after Thornton was shot.
It also was announced Friday that Justin Johnson and Smith had been indicted on an additional charge of conspiracy. They already were being held on first-degree murder charges.
Police also think Jermarcus Johnson helped with communications between Smith and Justin Johnson after the shooting and facilitated payments to Smith for Dolph’s death.
During an initial court hearing Tuesday, Coffee set Jermarcus Johnson’s bail at $300,000.
The fourth defendant in the case is Hernandez Govan, who is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy. His indictment stated the alleged conspiracy started on June 1, 2021. Govan has pleaded not guilty.
Young Dolph was ambushed and fatally wounded Nov. 17, 2021 at Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies on Airways Boulevard near Ketchum, just north of Interstate 240.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman held a brief news conference after Tuesday’s court hearing but disclosed few additional details about the ongoing investigation.
In a previous statement, however, Hagerman said in cases of murder and other serious crimes, multiple arrests do not necessarily mean that all of those arrested will be defendants.
“Some will be defendants, and some will be witnesses in the case,” Hagerman told reporters several weeks ago.