Jury selection started in the murder trial against up-and-coming rapper YNW Melly.
Born as Jamell Maurice Demons, the young star — who has collaborated with Kayne West and Kodak Black — is best known for his hit, “Murder On my Mind.”
The song was released in June 2018, four months before he allegedly killed two aspiring rappers in Florida. The lyrics read as follows:
“I wake up in the morning, I got murder on my mind
AK-47’s, MAC-11, Glocks, and .9s
And all these pussy niggas hating, tryna knock me off my grind
But I can’t let ’em do it, I got murder on my mind.”
Jury selection is expected to be a lengthy process in this case because Melly faces the death penalty if convicted. Last week, a judge ruled in favor of the state after they filed a motion that would allow a death sentence if a jury voted 8-4 in favor of the death penalty. The new law was created after the Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, avoided the death penalty due to a split-jury.
The Law&Crime Network plans to stream YNW Melly’s murder trial live once opening statements are scheduled.
Night of deadly shooting
In October 2018, Melly’s best friend, Cortlen Henry, 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 his arrest affidavit. First responders and investigators found Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas, 19, with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso. Both were dead.
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 splatter 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. Once a jury is seated, opening statements will begin — most likely in mid-June.
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