Update as of December 2023: Fate of ‘Murder on My Mind’ Rapper Rests on 8-4 Jury Vote, Judge Rules
His release is now scheduled for 2024. In a significant development regarding the YNW Melly case, the fate of the rapper now hinges on a crucial decision made by a judge.
On June 2, Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy ruled in favor of state prosecutors, granting them the ability to pursue a death sentence with a new statute that allows juries to recommend capital punishment with an 8-4 vote.
This ruling, confirmed by the Broward County District Attorney’s Office, marks a departure from the previous requirement of a unanimous decision by all 12 jurors for the imposition of the death penalty.
When Will YNW Melly’s Murder Trial Commence?
The murder trial of YNW Melly is expected to commence later this month, making him one of the first individuals to be tried under the recently enacted rule.
This new legislation was prompted by the case of Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland High School shooter, who received a life sentence due to a split 9-3 jury decision. Notably, the threshold for recommending the death penalty with an 8-4 vote is the lowest in the United States.
Four Years of Awaiting Trial for YNW Melly
Since his arrest on February 13, 2019, YNW Melly has been incarcerated in Broward County Jail, facing charges of two counts of first-degree murder.
The rapper, known for his song “Virtual (Blue Balenciagas),” stands accused of fatally shooting his friends YNW Juvy (Chris Thomas, 20) and YNW Sakchaser (Anthony Williams, 21) on October 26, 2018. Allegedly, Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, shot Thomas and Williams while they were seated in the back of a car driven by YNW Bortlen (Cortlen Henry).
Subsequently, Bortlen reportedly drove the vehicle, containing the deceased bodies, to Memorial Hospital in Miramar, Florida, claiming that the men were victims of a drive-by shooting.
Melly entered a plea of not guilty in March 2019 and has been denied bail throughout his incarceration. The trial date has been rescheduled multiple times as both the prosecution and defense dispute the admissibility of evidence and whether the death penalty should be considered.
Previous Death Penalty Rulings in YNW Melly’s Case
In April 2019, prosecutors initially announced their intent to seek the death penalty, a decision supported by the victims’ families. However, the death penalty was subsequently dropped in July 2022, only to be reintroduced four months later. Jury selection for the trial began in April, and the week of June 20 is anticipated to witness the commencement of opening statements.
YNW Melly Release Date 2023
YNW Melly’s release date has not been announced yet. His fans are anticipating his release from Prison in 2023.
Melly also expressed optimism earlier this year that he’d be able to return home by the end of the year after sharing a statement on social media.
The update comes after the prosecution claimed, citing text message exchanges, that Melly authorized a hit on his own mother.
“If you read his phone, there’s narcotics trafficking and firearms violations authorizing the killing of his mother,” the prosecution told the court. “Those are the things that you would consider ‘authorizing.’”
Why is YNW Melly in Prison?
Melly is accused of killing Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams, two members of his YNW crew, early in the morning of October 26, 2018.
Prosecutors say that Melly and Cortlen “YNW Bortlen” Henry drove Thomas and Williams to an empty area, where Melly shot and killed them.
They say that Henry then drove the bodies to a nearby hospital and lied that a drive-by shooting killed the crew.
Henry is also charged with killing the people and helping the killers get away. He will be judged on his own. No date has been set for that trial yet.
Melly’s trial starts on Monday at the Broward County Courthouse with the first step, which is called jury selection. This can take a long time in capital cases like Melly’s.
To be on a jury for a case involving the death penalty, jurors must be “death qualified.” That means the potential juror can’t be against the death penalty and can’t think that capital murder should always be punished by death. Instead, they must be willing to at least think about prison time as an alternative to death.
It can be hard to find people who meet all of those requirements. The number of people who can serve on a jury for a death penalty case is shrinking because of other cases in the same area: At least one other death penalty case is in the jury selection phase in Broward County right now, and Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced by a jury that will be chosen on Monday.
What evidence is there against Melly?
In the Complex’s Spotify podcast Infamous: The Story of YNW Melly, the state’s theory of the case is explained in detail. Here are some reasons why they think so:
The state has Melly’s cell phone records, which show where she was at the time of the murders. There is a lot of forensic evidence that connects Melly to the crime.
In fact, there is enough evidence that the state plans to use experts in crime scene reconstruction, shoe impressions, and other things as witnesses. They also want to show the jury the real path they say Melly and Bortlen took the morning of the murders.
A lot of Melly’s social media can be seen by the state. Several Instagram messages from the day of the murders could be used as evidence by the state.
Complex asked the government for public records and found one Instagram conversation that happened hours after the murders.
Melly’s account says “I did that” in one message, then “Shhhh” two minutes later. There is no clear evidence in the rest of the conversation that the DMs are talking about the deaths of Juvy and Sakchaser. But the state will probably use the messages’ timing and content to show that Melly is guilty by saying that he did it.
Not long after that, the person who got those messages tells Melly, “It’s a Sig 9 on the market.” Melly’s account responds, “I want it,” which is probably what the state will say. The person who wants to sell comes back with what seems to be a price: “It’s $460.”
Complex asked for public records and found one Instagram conversation that happened hours after the murders. Melly’s account says “I did that” in one message, then “Shhhh” two minutes later.
In a deposition, the lead detective on the case said that YNW Sakchaser was about to get around $200,000 from his record label.
This could have been a reason why he did what he did. During their investigation, the police tried to subpoena 300 Entertainment to look into this, but the detective said that the company “refused to honor our subpoena.”
In a deposition in March 2022, Sakchaser’s mother, Jana Thompson, talked more about the alleged $200,000 payment. However, she said she didn’t know who it was from or what it was for. She said that her son called her a few days before he was killed.
“My son called me in tears,” she said. “He was really worried about where I was. He wanted to know where his sisters were. He’s worried that something bad will happen to us. And he told me that he wouldn’t get his money,” she said. “He said, ‘I probably won’t get $200,000,'” I probably won’t even get my money back, Ma.”
“I told [the case’s lead detective], ‘I think something happened when it came down to my son. Someone owed him some money.'” Because he said he wouldn’t get it.
She said that the survivors’ reaction to her son’s death was not what she had expected. So I think, They must know something, because they’re not acting right. They are acting weird.”
Will Melly’s friends say what happened?
If the government can find them.
Several important witnesses told the police what they knew at the beginning of the investigation. But once Melly was charged, they missed a lot of depositions and haven’t answered the state’s attempts to get in touch with them.
Melly’s ex-girlfriend Mariah Hamilton and her mother Felicia Holmes are two of the people who will testify. At first, they told the police that Melly had called them right after the shootings and told them that he had been shot in a drive-by.
Since then, neither the state nor the defense has been able to get in touch with Hamilton or Holmes.
Prosecutor Kristine Bradley said in court that Melly’s mother paid for Hamilton’s car and Melly’s manager, Jameson “Track” Francois, sent $5,000 to Holmes to stop them from testifying.
In a hearing on February 16, Bradley said, “Mr. Demons is doing everything he can to stop them from coming.” “Because of the defendant, these witnesses can’t be found.” Bradley said that after the wire transfer from Melly’s boss, Felicia Holmes “suddenly stopped picking up the phone when the state called.”
Melly’s lawyers didn’t say that the money didn’t change hands, but they were very clear that it wasn’t in exchange for Melly not testifying. Instead, they said that both payments were made while Hamilton and Melly were still dating.
At the same February hearing, Melly’s lawyer, Raven Liberty, said, “All of this happened before Mr. Demons broke up with Ms. Hamilton.” “If you looked at his finances right now, you’d be shocked by how much money he spends on his new girlfriend. So it would make sense for him to spend money on his girlfriend. It’s not tampering with a witness. He does this for his girlfriends.”
Bradley wasn’t happy with that answer, so at a hearing on March 9, he accused Melly of “active, ongoing witness tampering,” which made Melly’s lawyers get very angry.
Like Hamilton and Holmes, a possible witness who said Francois and Henry hid the murder weapon after the shooting has been hard for prosecutors to get in touch with in recent months, and it’s not clear if he will testify.
Melly’s other friend, who was with her in the studio in the hours before the murders, is listed as a possible defense witness, even though he has told police different things about where Melly was that morning.
What’s up with DNA?
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab has 66 pages of DNA records, which it gave to the defense in early February.
The public doesn’t know what’s in those records, but they may have something to do with the state’s request for an oral swab of Melly in October 2021, so they can find out if his DNA was on a yellow jacket found in the trunk of the car where Thomas and Williams died.
What does it matter if someone is in a gang?
Complex readers may remember a story we wrote in February about how prosecutors were trying to show that Melly was a member of a gang.
This is because the state says Melly’s alleged membership in a gang is an aggravating factor in his crime. This is one of several aggravating factors they are using to ask for the death penalty.
So far, the public hasn’t seen much proof that Melly is a member of a gang. The case’s lead detective said that Demons “pledges allegiance” to the United Blood Nation in a text message. This is the most concrete evidence that has been made public so far.
Melly’s phone got a text message with a loyalty oath that said, in part, “I take this oath and solemnly swear to uphold the utmost honor and respect for all rules and regulations that govern this chapter GKB [Gangster Killer Bloods], which is under the banner of the UBN [United Blood Nation].” (In a separate interview, a gang cop working on the case said that Melly’s phone got the text message
Melly’s lawyers filed something in late February that gives more information about the gang issue. In it, they say that police in Broward County, where the crime happened, and Indian River County, where Melly grew up, came to believe that Melly and the other YNW members were “affiliated with the Blood Gang based on documented associations, style of dress, and use of hand signs.”
The document goes on to say that the killings of Thomas and Williams were “claimed” by a rival Blood group called the Dub Street Blood Family (you can see a report on these rumors, from just two days after the murders, here).
Investigators point to insulting tweets sent to Melly by the Florida rapper Crucial, who is called a Crip in the filing, as more proof that Melly is in a gang.
When asked for a comment, Crucial says that he is a “Gangster Disciple” (GD). Even though Crucial was born in New Jersey, he moved to Fort Pierce in 1993, which is close to Melly’s home town of Gifford. He has lived there ever since.
He says that Melly is a member of a gang, just like the state says. Specifically, the Bloods G-Shine set.
Crucial says of G-Shine, “It’s more of a northern set that made its way down to Florida.” “Most of them live in New York, New Jersey, and places like that,” she said.
Crucial says about Melly, “He has some ties to the Bloods.” “Every time you see him on the videos, he’s holding up signs and being rude to the people he’s rude to.”
Crucial makes it clear that the G-Shine Bloods set doesn’t like Gangster Disciples in particular. He says that the original name of the set was “Gangster Killer Bloods,” with “gangster” referring to the GDs.
Crucial says that his problems with Melly started with her 2018 song “Home Invasion,” which made fun of people Crucial knew.
He says, “That’s where things went down.” “Melly was sneaking a put-down. From the outside, people won’t know what’s going on. But if you’re in the situation, you’ll know who he’s talking about. In the song, he talks about how the.38 jammed and other things that really happened.
Crucial took shots at Melly on Twitter hours after the murders, but he says the timing was just a coincidence because he hadn’t heard about what happened yet. He just wanted to respond to “Home Invasion,” he says.
Who else is helping Melly?
Melly has a list of 28 possible witnesses, and the friend from the studio mentioned above is one of them. Most of the people on the list work for the Miramar police or for other law enforcement agencies, or they are experts in forensics.
When will the witness speak?
The most likely date that testimony will start is May 23.
When will it be done?
At a hearing on March 2, prosecutor Kristine Bradley said it would take 12 days for the state to make its case. Melly’s team said it would take five days for their side.
So, if you don’t count the time it will take for the jury to decide, the case is set to last from May 23 to June 21, which is almost a month. (The trial will only take place Monday through Thursday, so the judge can handle other cases on Fridays.)
What happens when the case is over?
Melly will get a few months off if she is found guilty. Then, both sides and the same jury will meet again for a second, shorter trial to decide whether Melly gets the death penalty or life in prison.
Melly’s team has made a list of possible witnesses for this phase, just in case they are needed. The list is mostly made up of family members, but there are also two psychiatrists on it.
If it does happen, this phase is set to start on September 12 and should last for about two weeks.
How old is YNW Melly Now? YNW Melly Age 2023
YNW Melly is 23 years old as of 2022. He was born on born May 1, 1999, in Gifford, Florida in the United States of America.
YNW Melly Parents
Jamell Demons was born in Gifford, Florida, on May 1, 1999. Jamie Demons-King, his single mother, reared him and he has no idea who his father is. Donte “Tha Gift” Taylor, another rapper, claims to be YNW Melly’s father.
Demons-King was 14 when she fell pregnant with him, and he was born in ninth grade. His mother struggled to pay for housing and necessities after moving to a poorer part of Gifford.
Demons joined the Bloods group at a young age, and at the age of 15, he began releasing his songs on SoundCloud.
Demons was arrested in late 2015 for shooting at a group of teenagers at Vero Beach High School and was later found guilty of aggravated battery, discharging a handgun in public, and two charges of aggravated assault, for which he served time in prison.
YNW Melly Mother
Jamie Demons-King, YNW Melly’s mother, says she expects her son to be released from prison later this year. Melly is currently charged with two counts of murder, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
“He will be home 2022,” Demons-King wrote on her Instagram Story, responding to a follower who asked when they can expect Melly to get out.
YNW Melly Mother Age, Jamie Demons-King Age
Jamie Demons-King is over 35 years old as of 2022, she was born in the United States of America.
She has been celebrating her birthday every year together with her family and friends.
We are keeping tabs on YNW Melly’s mother’s age and will update this section with more information about her date of birth once available.
December 12, 2022
YNW Melly is making a plea for help from jail, saying that he fears for his life because jail staff have been beating him and making him feel bad.
On Monday afternoon (Dec. 12), the rapper who is in jail put up two long Instagram posts in which he talks about how bad things are for him while he waits for his double-murder trial.
IG Post 1
As of this moment today I am officially in fear of my life. A new Captain named Hubert and XO Jenkins have taken over the jail for two weeks now and have handed out even harsher punishments for me then the previous ones in place.
Since December 1 I have been moved and housed on a unit that holds 24 inmates at once. I am the only inmate being housed on the vacant unit, with no phone privilege, no television and no access to a newspaper.
They are watching my every move on camera making sure I don’t use the phone to tell the world how I am being mistreated, discriminated, threatened physically, harassed.
When I come out of my cell for the 1 hour a day, all other inmates in the adjoining dorms must go back in there cell. I am being subjected to cruel and unusual treatment at the hands of deputies and high-ranking staff of the Broward Sheriffs Office.
I have been threatened by Deputies, Lieutenants and Sergeants that say “they will hide me from the world” and threaten to “beat my ass everyday and if I tell my lawyers they will lie and say I hit them first.” Words from Sergeant Anthony Kidd and Lieutenant Jean Baptiste.
I have literally been hidden from the World so I have no other choice but to believe the next step is them beating ½ to death like they do to other inmates almost daily here at the main jail in Broward County. @bsooffice @tmz_tv @helpmehoward7news @channel7 @insideedition @saycheesetv @akademiks @nojumper
IG Post 2
I cant call my family or lawyers to notify them if I have been beaten or harassed. They say my phone privileges are taken permanently because all of the infractions over the last seven months.
THAT IS A LIE! They took my phone privileges indefinitely off of my 1″ violation for using another inmates pin to talk on the phone when I am not allowed to use the phone.
If I had been treated like every other inmate at this facility my phone pin would have been restored and phone privileges given back after 30 days per the handbook.
I have however went without phone privileges since MAY 8, 2022 and have not been given back my phone pin since the first year I was here.
I have served all my disciplinary time so why are my phone privileges still taken. Why am I the ONLY inmate on a unit by themselves BLOCKED from any human interaction? There are inmates here, that have been convicted, of orchestrating robberies over the jail phone and another who planned an escape from jail that was carried out over the jail phone, they are still allowed to use the phone after committing serious crimes and security threats to the facility.
But my phone privileges are taken indefinitely for violating a harmless phone policy that carries a punishment of 30 days max!!! I am housed and surrounded in the care of power struck deputies and captains of high authority that even have told me to my face that “they don’t like me” and “I pissed them off”.
I am not safe in the hands of these people especially if the highest in command in the jail “doesn’t like me”. I am in fear of my life.
My family is in fear of my life. I can not do another day here. Someone please help me get moved to another county jail until my trial. PLEASE! @bsooffice @tmz_tv @helpmehoward7news @channel7 @insideedition @saycheesetv @akademiks @nojumper