Who is Cornelius Smith? Man indicted for shooting Young Dolph being held without bail

Smith was arrested back in December 2021 and has since been held in DeSoto County Jail, now being transferred to Shelby County Jail

                            Who is Cornelius Smith? Man indicted for shooting Young Dolph being held without bail
Rapper Young Dolph (Paras Griffin/Getty Images) with an insert of Cornelius Smith (Twitter)

SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: A grand jury has decided to indict Cornelius Smith on January 11, 2022, over the killing of rapper Young Dolph. Smith was arrested back on December 9 in Southaven on a separate warrant and later tied to the shooting of the rapper. He has since been held at the DeSoto County Jail and has now been transferred to Shelby County, where he will be tried. 

As we reported, the rapper was shot and killed while stopping for cookies in Memphis, Tennessee in November 2021. Days later, gunfire broke out again at the store, which has since become a memorial. On January 5, a second man identified as Justin Johnson was arrested in connection with the killing in Indiana. So far, a motive for the killing has not been identified, but one user on social media believes it could have something to do with the feud Young Dolph had with Yo Gotti. 


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According to the user, both Smith and Johnson were members of Yo Gotti's gang, which is why the case is being handled by the Crime Strategies and Narcotics Prosecution Unit (CSNPU), a dedicated unit in the Shelby County DA's office for gang members, violent crimes, and narcotics. This remains a theory for now and is yet to be proven in court. 

A man places flowers at the memorial for Young Dolph outside of Makeda's Cookies bakery on November 18, 2021, in Memphis, Tennessee. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Who is Cornelius Smith?

In a statement, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich confirmed that Smith was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, as well as additional counts of attempted first-degree murder, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and theft of property over $10,000. As a result, he's being held without bond in the Young Dolph shooting case. The attempted murder charge stems from the presence of the rapper's brother, who has been named as a victim of the attempted murder charge.

Weirich added that Smith was arrested in Southaven on an auto-theft warrant, related to the vehicle used in the shooting of the rapper. It is believed he car-jacked the white Mercedez-Benz on November 10, 2021, from a gas station and was abandoned shortly after Young Dolph was killed on November 17. Little else is known about the 32-year-old Memphis native, including his past criminal record. Based on the charges though, we can conclude he does appear to have a felony conviction to his name.

Additional details of Smith's involvement have not yet been made public, and it is unclear when he will appear in court. It's also unclear who the original owner of the Mercedez is. Johnson was arrested on January 11 and has been charged with first-degree murder and criminal attempted first-degree murder and property theft. His arrest comes after a widespread manhunt since early January, after police publicly identified him. 

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