NATIONAL NEWS

YNW Melly double murder trial continues after judge denies mistrial

Jun 20, 2023, 12:02 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The second week of the double murder trial of rapper YNW Melly began Tuesday with the judge denying a motion from the defense for a mistrial.

Defense attorneys had asked Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy for a mistrial last week, arguing the jury had been tainted following testimony that could not be verified from the mother of YNW Melly’s ex-girlfriend, the Sun Sentinel reported. The judge told defense attorneys jurors could be instructed to ignore statements that were ruled inadmissible.

YNW Melly, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, is facing a possible death sentence for the October 2018 fatal shooting of his childhood friends, Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr.

Williams and Thomas were both part of the YNW collective, known respectively as YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy.

Demons, Williams and Thomas were riding in a Jeep driven by Cortland Henry, known as YNW Bortlen, after a recording session in Fort Lauderdale when Demons, 24, fatally shot Williams and Thomas, prosecutors said. Henry is charged as an accomplice in the case but will be tried separately.

After killing Williams and Thomas, prosecutors said Demons and Henry drove the bodies to an area near the Everglades, where they shot at the back and passenger sides of Henry’s Jeep from the outside to make it look like Williams and Thomas were the victims of a drive-by shooting.

Prosecutors say the shooting was part of a gang action, while defense attorneys say the motive lacks credibility because Demons and the victims were close friends.

The gun used in the shooting has not been recovered. The first week of trial focused mostly on the physical evidence, with prosecutors establishing that the bullet casings found inside Demons and Henry’s vehicle likely came from the same weapon as the casings found at the scene of the staged drive-by shooting.

Demons gained attention with his breakout song “Murder on My Mind” in 2017. He later worked with Kanye West on “Mixed Personalities,” which was released in January 2019, a month before Demons was arrested on the murder charges.

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This story has been updated to correct Demons’ age. Demons is 24 years old, not 26.

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