Last updated on April 24th, 2019
Behind the bars under double murder charges, rapper YNW Melly could face death penalty, if convicted. The State of Florida on Monday announced its decision to seek the capital punishment against the 19-year-old, as the prosecutors believe they can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he murdered two of his rapper friends for “financial gain,” according to court documents.
The documents state that the murder of Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, was a “heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and he committed homicide in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.”
Known for his song “Murder on My Mind”, YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons was arrested in February, after he was alleged of shooting Williams and Thomas Jr. on October 26. As per the reports, the shooting took place in Fort Lauderdale, where another rapper identified as Cortlen Henry aka YNW Bortlen, 26, helped Melly.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the Miramar Police alleged that Melly covered up the murder by making it appear as if it was a drive-by shooting.
The victims were taken to the Memorial Hospital Miramar by Henry, where both were pronounced dead. Rappers Williams known as YNW Sakchaser and Thomas known as YNW Juvy were featured on a documentary about Melly posted on Melly’s YouTube page.
The investigations gradually started finding evidence against Melly and Henry through surveillance footage and autopsy reports. On February 13, Melly revealed on Instagram that he would be turning himself in to authorities. “To all my fans and supporters… I am turning my self in today,” Melly wrote. He also concluded the post by saying “I love you” to Williams and Thomas Jr.
Henry, on the other hand, was arrested in January in Houston and was extradited to Broward. Both the rappers pleaded not guilty to the charges in connection with the case, in March. However, they remain behind bars without bond.
Capital punishment is legal in 30 states, one of which is Florida. As per the reports, it is not certain if prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Henry or not, but Melly is scheduled to appear in court, on Thursday.
Melly’s attorney Bradford Cohen explained that his client is not guilty, but the decision to seek death penalty “did not come as a surprise”.