Rapper YNW Melly Faces Death Penalty

Jamell Demons (YNW Melly), left, and Cortlen Henry, right (via USA Today)

Broward County, FL prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against up-and- (would have been)-coming rapper YNW Melly for the killing of two friends of his for financial gain as well as his affiliation with a gang.

While the details of the murder are still hazy, what is largely accepted is that Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, was driving with his friends, Cortlen Henry (YNW Bortlen), Anthony Williams (YNW Sakchaser), and Christopher Thomas (YNW Juvy). Demons and Henry claim that shortly after pulling off of the freeway, a car pulled up alongside theirs and fired at them, killing Williams and Thomas. Demons and Henry then drove their friends to Miramar hospital, but the two were dead on arrival. This happened in October of 2018.

Anthony Williams, left, and Christopher Thomas, right (via USA Today)

While the two surviving men did indeed drive their deceased friends to the hospital, investigators later uncovered that Demons shot Williams and Thomas outside the car, with him and Henry exiting the car and shooting it from the outside to make it appear as though a driveby had taken place. Demons had gun residue on his hands, effectively pinning himself as the gunman. Henry had no gun residue on his hands, but is still being charged as an accessory to the crime. Demons was arrested on February 13th, and both men were charged with two counts of first degree murder. The prosecutors’ main arguments for this sentence cited the coldness and premeditation of the murders, as well as Demons’ and Henry’s affiliation with a gang.

We disagree with the assertions that prosecutors are making in the notice to seek death, but it did not come as a surprise to us.”

— Bradford Cohen, Demons' defense attorney

YNW Melly rose to popularity with his hit song, “Murder on My Mind”, a song chronicling the accidental fatal shooting of a friend of his, claiming to be caught by surprise. This song was accompanied by an eerie video of Melly cradling his dead on a stretcher. Many speculate that the murder of his friends may have served as a sort of morbid inspiration for the song.