South Florida rapper YNW Melly is currently facing two counts of first-degree murder charges for the killings of his two friends YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser, born Christopher Thomas Jr and Anthony Williams respectively. The two were close friends of Melly, born Jamell Demons, all being part of the collective YNW crew. YNW Bortlen, born Cortlen Henry, is also being charged with Melly.
The first day of his trial was supposed to begin on April 4; however, due to unresolved legal issues, the trial has now been delayed a second time. There is currently no new date set as prosecutors are working on getting every bit of evidence to go against Melly. Most recently, a judge has allowed prosecutors to use Melly’s tattoos against him, citing gang affiliation.
Melly was arrested four months after the murders as police alleged that he was the gunman and killed the two victims. They also believe Bortlen staged the killings to look as if it were a drive-by shooting. Both are facing life imprisonment and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Melly if found guilty. Both were arrested Feb. 13, 2019.
The following week, police released phone records proving that Melly was there at the scene of the crime. Autopsy reports also suggest that he shot the two while he was inside and then shot at the car from the outside to make it seem as if it were a drive-by. Melly has since pleaded not guilty.
Nicholas Cousins, a senior majoring in creative writing, felt like Melly was on the way to being at the top of the game. “He was different from what other artists were doing, you could feel the emotions in his songs.” Cousins also felt that it’s unfortunate his career may be cut short, failing to “reach his full potential.”
Melly would release his first studio album, “Melly vs. Melvin”, in November, which has been certified gold by RIAA. The album debuted at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Prior to his February arrest, he had dropped his second mixtape, “We All Shine,” which featured Kanye West on “Mixed Personalities.”
The estates of both Williams and Thomas jr filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bortlen and Melly citing that the reason the two were killed was over a dispute about money. According to the complaint filed on behalf of the Williams estate, the group was set to get a large amount of money for the four to split. Williams’ mother recalls her final phone calls with her son complaining about not getting his money.
With no trial date set, it’s unclear when Melly will be seen in court again. Prosecutors are working vigorously to convict both due to the gruesomeness of the crime. Melly released another album titled “Just A Matter Of Slime” which debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200.