Hernandez Govan, the third man charged in connection with Young Dolph’s murder — and the alleged ringleader of the plot on the beloved Memphis rapper’s life — has pleaded not guilty to all three of the felony counts leveled against him: first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Per the Associated Press, where the news was first reported, his arraignment was held Thursday (November 17), the one-year anniversary of Dolph’s death. Multiple outlets have since confirmed the AP’s reporting.
When reached for comment by The FADER, Govan’s attorney William D. Massey laid out the trial’s next steps. “A plea of ’Not Guilty’ gives notice to the court and the state that Mr. Govan contests the charges made against him and that the case will go forward in an adversarial posture,” he wrote in an email. “When a motion for discovery follows, it requires the prosecutor to produce the material the state intends to use at trial. The purpose of the discovery rule is to prevent trial by ambush. We are now engaging in the discovery process and directing our investigation toward uncovering who is saying Mr. Govan had anything to do with Young Dolph being killed, and whether that person is bartering false information for his own benefit by throwing Govan under the bus.”
Tennessee Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman, who is prosecuting the case, reportedly declined to respond to requests for more information on the evidence against Govan after Thursday’s hearing. “I know that you all are wanting details, you’re wanting facts, you’re wanting sort of answers to some of these mysteries and things like that,” he’s quoted as saying. “Even if we knew them, we couldn’t tell you. As a matter of ethics and our requirements under the law, we’ve got to confine ourselves to what’s made public.”
Elsewhere on Thursday, the city of Memphis celebrated the first annual Adolph “Young Dolph” Thornton Jr. Day of Service (Dolph Day), coordinated by Dolph’s family’s non-profit, the IdaMae Foundation; his estate and Paper Route Empire, the local label he founded in 2010, announced his first posthumous album, Paper Route Frank, due out in December. And his cousin Key Glock released an EP titled PRE5L in his honor.
This post was updated on November 28 at 12:40 p.m. EST to include Govan’s attorney’s comment.