Young Dolph murder suspect says he’s innocent, plans to surrender to Memphis police

The Memphis Police Department issued a warrant for Justin Johnson's arrest on Wednesday

Justin Johnson, who authorities say is the prime suspect in the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph, revealed his plans to turn himself in.

The 23-year-old took to his Instagram story on Saturday to post that he will turn himself in despite being innocent, writing, “Turning Myself In Monday @201 I’m Innocent I’ll Be Back Sooner Than You Can Blink.”

Police have been investigating the death of 36-year-old Young Dolph, real name Adolph Thornton, Jr., who was shot dead in November 2021 while picking up cookies for his mother at Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies in Memphis.

On Wednesday, the Memphis Police Department issued a first-degree murder warrant for Johnson, stating that the alleged assailant is a fugitive.

In a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the police department, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, Crime Stoppers and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced that they are offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to Johnson’s arrest.

“U.S. Marshals are offering up to $10,000; MPD and Crime Stoppers up to $2,500, and the TBI up to $2,500,” the release stated, adding that Johnson had been added to the TBI’s “Most Wanted” list.

Police say that the Memphis native, who also goes by the rap names “Straight Drop” or “Straight Dropp,” has a documented history of violence.

In 2017, Johnson pleaded guilty to shooting three people at a Memphis bowling alley and was sentenced to five years in prison.

“He got in a fight with some people at a bowling alley, and they were all mad at each other,” said said Shelby County Judge Christopher Craft, according to ABC 24.

After serving 6-months, the courts approved Johnson’s request for probation, citing that he completed redirection classes and arranged to get a job once he got out. “Since he had no previous record, we put him on probation,” said Craft.

JustinJohnson -
Authorities allege that 23-year-old Justin Johnson (above) is the prime suspect in the November murder of rapper Adolph “Young Dolph” Thornton Jr. (Photo: Screenshot/KTLA/Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

The judge added that Johnson “immediately admitted to his charges,” and because he had no priors, “he was a range one offender, which is 3 to 6 years.”

Johnson reposted the local news interview with Craft on his Instagram on Saturday, captioning the clip, “Next time post the REAL… BS ass Blogs.”

A few months after his release in May 2021, Johnson was arrested for having drugs and weapons while on federal supervision.

The U.S. Marshal said there is still an outstanding warrant for Johnson stemming from these charges.

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