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YNW Melly double murder trial: Slow start to week, more controversy over evidence


Stay updated in the trial against rapper YNW Melly — whose birth name is Jamell Demons. The up-and-coming star is accused of killing two of his friends — also rappers — then attempting to stage the murders as a drive-by shooting in the Miami area. After controversial and extremely tense testimony from YNW Melly’s ex-girlfriend’s mother, Felicia Holmes, the defense motioned for a mistrial claiming the state deliberately put Holmes on the stand to taint the jury and make their client look bad. The judge chose not to make a decision on the defense’s motion immediately, but ultimately denied the defense’s motion Friday. Due to an issue with a juror, court didn’t begin until 1:30 p.m.

Three people testified Tuesday afternoon, all very briefly and about cell phone data. Jurors were sent home early because the state, defense and judge needed to determine what new evidence is going to be allowed in trial. 

The Case Details

YNW Melly looks up in court

YNW Melly looks up in a Broward County, Fla. courtroom on June 15, 2023. (Law&Crime Network)

In October 2018, YNW Melly’s best friend, Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen, showed up to a Miami area hospital claiming his friends were hit during a drive-by shooting. He said they were bleeding out inside his car, according to the rapper’s arrest affidavit.

First responders and investigators found Anthony Williams, aka YNW Sakchaser, and Christopher Thomas, aka YNW Juvy, with multiple gunshot wounds. Both were dead.

Anthony Williams (left), Christopher Thomas (right)

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, police say. Henry said he was able to duck from the bullets, but Williams and Thomas were hit. When officers showed up to the “scene of the crime,” police found no evidence that there had been a shooting, detectives confirmed.

As officers continued to investigate, surveillance video showed Melly, Henry, Williams and Thomas together in Henry’s car when Henry claimed the shooting happened, according to Melly’s arrest report.

After looking at phone data and blood spatter evidence, detectives said it was clear the group were together the night of the crime and the victims had been shot in the car, not shot at. Police arrested Melly for two counts of first-degree murder in February 2019.

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