Young Dolph Murder Suspect Released From Jail As Fellow Suspects Face New Charge
Young Dolph murder suspect Shundale Barnett has walked out of a Ft. Worth, Texas jail where he was being held on an undisclosed charge.
According to Fox 13 Memphis, the man bonded out of the Tarrant County Jail on December 24, 2022. HipHopDX was not able to confirm Barnett’s exact release date, but a representative at the jail said that he likely would not have been held for an extended period of time beyond having paid his bond.
Barnett was charged as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder on January 12, 2022, after being captured with the primary suspect in the case, Justin Johnson.
In a press conference at the time, U.S Marshal Tyreece Miller said that Barnett had been charged as an accessory because authorities believed he was aware of Johnson’s fugitive status and assisted him in evading arrest during a week-long search.
Justin Johnson was transported to the Knox County Indiana Jail and booked on violation of federal supervised release before being transferred to Shelby County Jail in Memphis, where he remains. Shundale Barnett was held at the Clay County Jail in Indiana and was also expected to be transferred to Shelby County.
He was instead released from the Indiana facility on January 21, 2022. On February 17, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for Barnett’s arrest, admitting that they had “no idea” where he was, WREG reported.
Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden addressed the situation during a press conference on the same day.
“On January 11, Mr. Shundale Barnett was brought to the Clay County Jail by the Indiana State Police from an arrest on I-70,” Harden explained. “He was booked in the Clay County Jail on an outstanding warrant from Shelby County, Tennessee.
“We contacted Shelby County and held him on their warrant, he continued. “And we were contacted on January 21 and they told us that they were no longer wanting to come and pick up Mr. Barnett and that we were to release him at that time.”
Last April, a new arrest warrant had been issued for Shundale Barnett on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. It’s unclear if his detention in Texas was connected to either warrant or to Young Dolph’s murder.
In addition to Johnson, three other men remain in custody in Memphis with charges related to the slain rapper’s death.
According to Fox 13, Memphis Police took Jermarcus Johnson into custody on November 18, who turned himself into the Multi-Agency Gang Unit after being named as a suspect by the MPD. Per the report, Johnson was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
The indictment went on to say that authorities believe he helped hide his half-brother Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith after the deadly shooting, then helped the two get away.
A few days earlier, Hernandez Govan was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Officials alleged that Govan ordered the hit on Young Dolph in a plot that he started putting together in June 2021.
Following the alleged mastermind’s arrest, Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith were indicted on conspiracy charges, but have yet to be formally charged. Per Fox 13, their attorneys told Judge Lee Coffee that they both intend to enter a not guilty plea to the additional charge during a hearing on Friday (January 20).
A grand jury indicted Cornelius Smith and Justin Johnson on another charge. Conspiracy. They have been indicted but not yet formally charged. Their lawyers told the judge they’ll enter a not guilty plea. pic.twitter.com/0Ip4DYU3Cl
— Jeremy Pierre FOX13 (@JeremypierreFOX) January 20, 2023
During the same court proceeding, Justin Johnson’s attorney Luke Evans also filed a motion requesting to have Judge Coffee removed from the case for revoking his client’s phone privileges. The judge’s order came after Johnson, also known as Memphis rapper Straight Drop, released a single recorded from jail.
Evans’ complaint centered around the fact that Coffee issued the interim order for administrative isolation — which left Straight Drop only allowed to communicate with his lawyer — without an in-court discussion about the release of the song, titled “No Statements.”
“Our legal system is built on transparency. It’s built on process. It’s not built on information being vetted without the defendant being present and not having the ability to respond to it,” the attorney said during the hearing. “Obviously its a paramount concern for Mr. Johnson that he receives a fair trial in front of an impartial judge.”
A little over two years on since his death, Young Dolph’s memory is still being kept alive through new music and other tributes.
On January 13, his estate, his record label Paper Route Empire and the Trap Music Museum launched the Dolphland Pop-Up Museum Tour in New York City.
The tour is scheduled to travel through Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., among other cities. Ahead of the pop-up tour, Paper Route Empire CEO Daddy-O spoke about the purpose of the installations.
“The goal of the pop-up museum is to showcase the character of a leader and businessman, and to highlight the journey of someone whose early beginnings may mirror that of many young kids and entrepreneurs starting, so that they may draw inspiration to keep pushing on their own endeavors,” he said.
Dolph’s manager and Street Execs co-founder Allen Parks added: “Dolph has a great base of fans, and he loved going out and engaging with them. We wanted to do something that still provided a way for that engagement beyond just the music.
“We brought the idea to the Trap Music Museum, and they were excited to help bring a dope experience to life for all who will attend.”