Young Dolph‘s accused killer, Justin Johnson, has been granted his request to pool jurors from areas outside Memphis.
According to a report by The Associated Press published on Monday (February 12), Judge Jennifer J. Mitchell decided in favor of the motion due to the intense media coverage surrounding the murder in the rapper’s hometown. A jury will now be brought to the city from outside Shelby County for the trial, which is scheduled to commence on June 3.
In his original filing earlier this month, the defendant’s lawyer Luke Evans argued that “the victim in the case is beloved here,” while claiming that Dolph’s fans have allegedly threatened Johnson and his co-defendant, Cornelius Smith, with “lynching” and being killed in prison.
The attorney feels that these calls for violence are rooted in “seeking vengeance, not justice.”
Prosecutor Paul Hagerman suggested sending questionnaires to a potential jury pool of about 150 to 200 people to “gauge the effect of news coverage and social media commentary,” but Judge Mitchell turned down the proposal as it could delay the trial, especially since it was already pushed back from its previously scheduled start date of March 11.
Back in November, Dolph’s fiancée voiced her disappointment and frustration with the lack of progress in the late rapper’s murder case.
In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Mia Jaye explained that she hasn’t publicly made statements about the investigation to avoid muddying the waters.
“I’m fed up. It’s been two years’ worth of conspiracies. Two years’ worth of unknowing. Two years’ worth of people not properly communicating to you,” she said. “I didn’t know if garnering more attention would hurt or help, and I wanted to help. I feel like I tried that, and I don’t feel like it was helping. I feel like we weren’t being taken seriously.”
Jaye went on to explain that her annoyance escalated when she learned through the media, not authorities, that the original judge in the case was removed by the Tennessee appeals court, which she felt disregarded Dolph’s loved ones.