A judge has declared a mistrial after jurors could not agree on a verdict after more than 14 hours of deliberations on Saturday in the double murder case against rapper YNW Melly.
The up-and-coming star, born Jamell Demons, was accused of killing two of his friends — also rappers — then staging the murders as a drive-by shooting in the Miami area.
The sequestered jury deliberated Friday until 5 p.m. ET before returning to their hotel. The jurors deliberated for more than 9 hours between Thursday and Friday. The jury resumed its third day of deliberations at 8:52 on Saturday morning.
Reacting to the news his manager, 100k Track, told Law&Crime Network’s Terri Austin that it’s a second chance.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “You know, I’m saying it’s not the verdict we would want, of course, but, you know, it’s the second chance. And I take that literally for everything — second chance at life, take a chance for a better defense. I’m excited. I really feel like coming home may feel like that, but it just, you know, confirmed it.”
His lawyer Stuart Adelstein told Austin he was “somewhat disappointed” that Melly was not walking out the door with his lawyers. The lawyers could not comment further about plans to get him out of jail on bond or their team’s next steps.
A status hearing was set for July 28 to decide if the defense will waive the 90-day period the state has to decide if they will retry the case.
Law&Crime has been providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial.
It started in October 2018, when YNW Melly’s best friend, Cortlen “YNW Bortlen” Henry, showed up at a Miami hospital claiming two of his friends were struck by bullets in a drive-by shooting and they were bleeding out in his car, an arrest affidavit said. Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. were declared dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
Henry told detectives he had just left a recording studio with Williams and Thomas in Fort Lauderdale when a car pulled up and started shooting. Henry said he ducked to avoid getting hit, but Williams and Thomas were hit.
When police arrived, they found no evidence of a shooting. As officers investigated, surveillance video showed Melly, Henry, Williams and Thomas together in Henry’s car when Henry claimed the shooting happened.
After looking at phone data and blood spatter evidence, detectives determined the group was together the night of the crime, and the victims were shot in the car.
Police arrested Melly for two counts of first-degree murder in February 2019. He was charged in October 2018. He pleaded not guilty in March 2019.
Law&Crimes Vanessa Bein contributed to this report.
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