Judge declares mistrial in murder trial of rapper YNW Melly

Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Florida judge declared a mistrial in the double-murder trial of YNW Melly.

After three days of deliberation, the 12-member panel could not make a decision, resulting in Broward County Circuit Judge John Murphy ending the case in a mistrial, according to The Associated Press.

The jury twice told Murphy they were deadlocked, prompting a third and final deliberation that ended without a unanimous guilty or innocent verdict. 

Since a unanimous verdict is needed to convict or acquit a defendant, Broward County prosecutors, who were seeking the death penalty, will most likely choose to retry the case with a new jury. 

YNW Melly, whose birth name is Jamell Demons, is accused of shooting YNW group members Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr. while they were all inside a Jeep.

Prosecutors said the shooting was gang-related, while defense attorneys deemed that claim not credible because Demons and the victims were close friends.

Demons, 24, was arrested on first-degree murder charges in 2019 on allegations he fatally shot Williams and Thomas after a recording session in Fort Lauderdale on October 26, 2018.

According to AP, prosecutors said that after the shooting, Williams and the driver, Cortland Henry aka YNW Bortlen, drove the bodies to an area near the Everglades, where they shot at the back and passenger sides of Henry’s Jeep from the outside to make it look like Williams and Thomas had been the victims of a drive-by shooting.

In closing arguments, Demons’ defense highlighted that the gun used in the shooting was never found and that Demons had no motive.

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