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Crime Florida rapper YNW Melly murder charges: The full story

19:16  12 february  2020
19:16  12 february  2020 Source:   tcpalm.com

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Two Florida rappers are accused of killing their friends. This is everything we know about the YNW Melly case. A YNW Melly documentary released in December gives an intimate look at the rapper 's Gifford upbringing and what seemed like a tight knit friendship with the other three artists also from the

YNW Melly : Rapper famous for ' Murder On My Mind' charged with two counts of first-degree murder . Authorities in the state’s 17th judicial circuit filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case last week. YNW Melly , real name Jamell Maurice Demons, was charged in February this

Editor's note: This story will be updated as new details emerge. Reporting is by Mary Helen Moore. Compilation and presentation is by Dacia Johnson. Caryn Shaffer and Eric Rogers contributed to this report.

a close up of Shavar Ross: Jamell Demons, aka YNW Melly© Provided by Gannett Co., Inc. Jamell Demons, aka YNW Melly

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Four men who grew up in the Vero Beach area are at the center of a story about two rappers who are accused of murdering their friends. It's a complicated story that includes a police claim of a staged drive-by shooting, and a wildly popular artist who recently released a song with Kanye West.

And now one of the men involved is facing the death penalty if convicted. Here's what we know:

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YNW Melly : Rapper famous for ' Murder On My Mind' charged with two counts of first-degree murder . South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the charges stem from a shooting last year, on the 26 October, when two men named Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr were shot dead.

YNW Melly ’s biggest track to date, ‘ Murder On My Mind’, was initially uploaded to SoundCloud in March 2017, before featuring on the rapper ’s 2018 debut full -length ‘I Am You’. Has YNW Melly responded to the charges ? Following the deaths of Williams and Thomas, Melly ’s attorney released

October 2018

Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, of Gifford, and Anthony Williams, 21, of Fort Pierce were shot and killed Oct. 26 in South Florida, according to the Miramar Police Department.

a couple of people posing for the camera: Anthony Williams Jr, 21, also known as YNW Sakchaser (left), and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, also known as YNW Juvy© CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY MIRAMAR POLICE DEPARTMENT Anthony Williams Jr, 21, also known as YNW Sakchaser (left), and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, also known as YNW Juvy

Both were driven to Memorial Hospital Miramar about 4:35 a.m., and arrived with multiple gunshot wounds, but, police said, were already dead.

Thomas went by the stage name YNW Juvy, while Williams was known as YNW Sakchaser.

The men were last seen alive in Fort Lauderdale about 3:20 a.m. that same day, police said.

The identity of the friend who drove Williams and Thomas to the hospital was not released at that time.

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US rapper YNW Melly has been arrested and charged with murdering two other rappers , both said to have been his childhood friends, in Florida . Police say the rapper , real name Jamell Demons, conspired with another man to make the two male victims look like they had died in a drive-by shooting.

Gifford rapper YNW Melly documentary gives eerie look at friendship with murdered artists. Mary Helen Moore. Treasure Coast Newspapers. YNW Melly , 19, whose real name is Jamell Demons, was arrested Wednesday and charged with shooting them to death in South Florida in October.

The two were part of a group of friends that included Jamell Demons, aka YNW Melly, and Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen.

Arrests made

Miramar police said an investigation concluded that Demons shot and killed Williams and Thomas.

a group of people posing for the camera: Jamell Demons, left, aka YNW Melly, and Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen.© CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS Jamell Demons, left, aka YNW Melly, and Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen.

Henry was arrested in Texas and extradited to Broward County on Feb. 12.

Demons turned himself in to officials in Broward County on Feb. 13.

Both were charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Henry also was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact.

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Ynw melly double murder case, will he beat trial. YNW Melly Full 16 page Double Murder indictment details arrest & charges .

Rising Florida rapper YNW Melly turned himself in to police in Miramar, Florida on Wednesday and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder , the South Florida Sun In a post on his Instagram page, Melly confirmed that he turned himself in, but denied any role in his friends' murder .

Miramar police said Demons and Henry plotted to kill the young men they grew up with, then staged their bodies to look as if a drive-by shooting had occurred.

Demons is accused of firing the shots, court records show. Henry then drove to the hospital with the bodies in a Jeep SUV, according to police.

Prior to turning himself in, Demons posted a photo on Instagram of all four young men together, proclaiming his innocence.

"A couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want (sic) to find justice," Demons said in the post. "Unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother (Henry)."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melvin & Melly 2 Face ???? (@ynwmelly) on Feb 13, 2019 at 4:01pm PST

New details emerge

Court documents obtained March 1 detail how Miramar police said the rapper staged the deaths of two friends.

About 4:35 a.m. Oct. 26, Henry pulled into Memorial Hospital Miramar with the bodies of Williams and Thomas in the passenger seats of a bullet-riddled Jeep Compass.

He originally told police the two were killed by unknown assailants in a drive-by shooting, but police later said Henry and Demons had orchestrated the killings, with Demons pulling the trigger and Henry assisting a cover-up.

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Arrest records filed with the Broward County court Feb. 14 detail a variety of evidence supporting the allegations. Among the investigators' claims:

  • Police found no evidence of shots fired in the location Henry said the shooting occurred. There were no reports of gunshots in the area.
  • Cell phone records and surveillance video showed an associate had given false information about Demons' whereabouts before the shooting.
  • Cell phone records and surveillance video showed the path taken to the hospital contradicted Henry's testimony.
  • Forensic evidence at the actual crime scene, determined by cell phone records and K-9 search, showed no other vehicles were present at the time of the shooting.
  • A trajectory analysis on the vehicle showed the paths of the bullets (right to left) did not match the victims' wounds (left to right).

Also detailed was evidence investigators said directly implicated Demons as the shooter:

  • A shell casing from a .40 caliber handgun that matched casings found at the crime scene was discovered on the floorboard of the left rear passenger seat in the vehicle, where video evidence showed Demons had been sitting.
  • Evidence from an autopsy also showed the shot that killed Williams, who had been sitting in the front right passenger seat, had come from behind and to the left and was fired from less than three feet away.
  • Investigators said evidence showed Henry and Demons had driven around for a period of time with the two dead victims in the vehicle "prior to entering the hospital" in "a calculated effort to establish their version of the incident(.)"

The motive for the shooting was not known as of March 4.

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Not guilty plea

Demons pleaded not guilty March 5 to charges of first-degree murder. The case is slated to be heard in front of a jury. A hearing is scheduled for April 25.

Henry is expected to be arraigned March 11 on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of accessory after the fact.

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Neither man had an attorney listed in court records the morning of March 6.

Update: Henry, who "stood mute" as the charges were announced, entered a plea of not guilty March 11 in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom, according to Paula McMahon, spokeswoman for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.

Update: State prosecutors filed notice in April of their intent to seek the death penalty in the double murder case.

By state law, first-degree murder is punishable either by death or life without parole for suspects at least 18 years old at the time of the offense.

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University, which is appropriate in a given case is decided on the basis of so-called "aggravating factors" which, in the jury's estimation, increase the severity of or culpability of a crime.

In the April 18 court filing, prosecutors stated their intent to prove a number of aggravating factors, arguing the killings were:

  • "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel"
  • "committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification"
  • "committed by a criminal gang member"

Update: Demons' attorney, Bradford Cohen, of Fort Lauderdale, filed a motion May 30 to grant bond with the Broward County court.

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Cohen said Demons did not pose a flight risk, arguing if he wanted to flee he would have done so on learning of the outstanding warrants after a concert in Washington D.C. Instead, Cohen said, Demons flew to Florida and surrendered himself to authorities. Cohen emphasized the rapper has ties to Gifford.

More: Attorney says rapper 'not a flight risk,' points to Gifford family ties

Criminal history

  • Vero Beach police arrested Demons in late 2015 when police said he fired a gun at a group of people during a dispute near Vero Beach High School, where the then-16-year-old was a freshman.
  • At 17, Henry was charged with fleeing from deputies who attempted a traffic stop near the Indian River Mall. He was tackled after hopping out of his vehicle and fleeing on foot, July 2016 arrest records show.
  • In January 2017, Demons was arrested on weapons charges after a traffic stop. Deputies reported finding a loaded 9 mm pistol with a laser attachment beneath Demons' feet and a .40-caliber Glock with an extended magazine in the glove compartment.
  • State troopers arrested Demons, Henry and Williams in June 2018 after finding three Glock handguns and large containers filled with marijuana in an SUV south of Fort Myers.
  • In January, Demons pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was given a 25-day jail sentence.

Musical success

Demons, who announced he was signed to Young Thug's record label, YSL Records, in September, is seen as a rising star in the Florida rap scene.

He has more than a million social media followers, and his most famous song, "Murder on my Mind," has more than 88 million views on YouTube. The track was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

He released a song with Kanye West in January that has 17 million views on YouTube. Henry posted a video of himself and Demons recording with West on social media.

Both songs were charting on Billboard's Hot 100 in the weeks leading up to his arrest.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melvin & Melly 2 Face ???? (@ynwmelly) on Jan 17, 2019 at 9:04pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melvin & Melly 2 Face ???? (@ynwmelly) on Jan 12, 2019 at 8:37am PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melvin & Melly 2 Face ???? (@ynwmelly) on Dec 4, 2018 at 9:30pm PST

A closer look at YNW Melly

Demons' "Murder on my Mind" was released in 2017, but its lyrics and the video's disturbing imagery have come under increased scrutiny since Demons' arrest and accusations he killed Thomas and Williams.

The weekend after his arrest, "Murder on my Mind" reached No. 1 on the U.S. Apple Music chart, according to Chart Data, a Twitter account that tracks music metrics. Meanwhile, the song has steadily been climbing the Spotify charts.

The documentary

A YNW Melly documentary released in December gives an intimate look at the rapper's Gifford upbringing and what seemed like a tight knit friendship with the other three artists also from the Treasure Coast.

"We ain't never had no fear. You can't hang around us if you got fear," Demons said in the 20-minute film. "Cause we know what we doing, you know what I'm saying? And that's why we so tight."

Demons' mom said she got pregnant at 14 and gave birth in ninth grade.

"Gifford, it can make you or break you," she said, clearly proud of her son's newfound success.


#FreeYNWMelly

Fans have taken to social media using #FreeYNWMelly in reaction to the allegations and arrest.

A tweet from the YNWMelly verified account said, "God want to give you the world but the devil want to take it from you ... "

'Murder on My Mind' goes double-platinum

"Murder on My Mind," Melly's single that has taken off since his arrest and incarceration, recently went double-platinum.

The song has hit the 2-million unit mark and is showing no signs of slowing down. Additional platinum honors are given out by the Recording Industry Association of America as songs pass mileposts of 1 million units. The final award is Diamond, for 10 million units.

Update: In late January, "Murder on My Mind" officially went quadruple platinum,  according to Urbanislandz.com, a website that promotes hip hop, rap, reggae and dancehall music.

New album in the works?

From jail, Demons announced Aug. 9 he is planning a new album.

A photo posted to the rapper's Instagram showed him talking on the phone during a jail visit, according to Complex, a website that reports on trends in style, pop culture, music, sports and sneakers with a focus on streetwear, sneaker culture, hip hop and graphic art.

The caption underneath the image reads: "Album on the way everybody. Y’all ready #MellyVsMelvin."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Free Melly & Melvin (@ynwmelly) on Aug 9, 2019 at 11:04am PDT

Prosecutors release crime-scene photos

Prosecutors showed slides with Miramar police investigation photos at Cortlen Henry's Aug. 23, Arthur Hearing where they tried to prove he should be held without bail.

One year since murders

Oct. 26 marked one year since Williams — YNW Sakchaser — and Thomas — YNW Juvy — were taken to Miramar Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead from gunshot wounds.

Here's what we know.

'Melly vs. Melvin' released

While in jail awaiting trial, Melly released "Melly vs. Melvin" on Nov. 22.

Hearkening back to his hit with Kanye West, the new album is all about “Mixed Personalities.”

At least that’s how Jamell Demons and his production team have marketed it.

The alter ego, mixed personality, "Melvin" of the album's namesake has been marketed since early 2019 in posts to the YNW Melly Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The album is available on Spotify.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast: Florida rapper YNW Melly murder charges: The full story

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