MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Hernandez Govan, the third person indicted in the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph, pleaded not guilty in his first appearance in a Memphis courtroom Thursday.
Govan’s attorney said his client is “not the shooter, not a killer.”
The court date comes one year to the day after Dolph’s slaying at a South Memphis cookie shop, and one week after Govan’s indictment by a grand jury.
Govan, 43, was indicted for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The indictment lists the victims as Adolph Thornton Jr. — Young Dolph’s real name.
Shelby County’s District Attorney says Govan is the man believed to have ordered the hit on Dolph.
“Mr. Govan has been indicted and is in custody for being involved in the Young Dolph murder. He played the role of the person who solicited the murder,” District Attorney Steve Mulroy said.
WREG requested Govan’s criminal history from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which shows a very violent past. The 17-page document dates back to 2001 and reveals Govan has been arrested for various aggravated assaults, reckless endangerment, and drug possession charges.
While Govan’s murder charge is dated Nov. 17, the day of Dolph’s shooting, the conspiracy charge against Hernandez is dated June 1 — months before Dolph’s murder.
Prosecutor Paul Hagerman confirms that is the alleged date they believe the conspiracy took place.
“The indictment alleges that he solicited the two individuals to commit the killing,” Hagerman said.
Two other defendants have been in custody for months. Justin Johnson, also known as Straight Drop, and Cornelius Smith were charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder earlier this year.
Johnson and Smith are the alleged gunmen.
Thursday, Judge Lee Coffee read the charges and set the next court date for Friday, Dec. 16.
Govan has retained attorney William Massey. Massey said even though he hasn’t seen any evidence, he’s confident his client is innocent.