Rapper YNW Melly is the latest incarcerated celebrity to petition for early release amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the rapper’s representation announcing that he has recently tested positive for COVID-19 while awaiting trial in a Florida jail.
The 20-year-old rapper, born Jamell Maurice Demons, tested positive for the virus on Thursday and, as a result, he will be asking a judge to release him, according to a statement shared on his Instagram and other social media accounts on Thursday.
“Melly has tested positive for COVID-19 today while awaiting his trial in Broward County Jail. He’ll be filing a motion for restricted release in hopes of better care due to any jails not being prepared to treat this new virus. He hopes for your support and to recover soon,” the statement reads. The post goes on to ask his followers to “prayformelly [and] send positive energy to him please.”
Bradford Cohen, Demons’ defense attorney, has since confirmed the rapper’s status to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, as well as his plan to file an emergency motion on Friday asking for a conditional release.
“The jails and prisons in this country are creating an extremely dangerous situation by not providing hand sanitizer and proper hygiene care,” Cohen’s statement reads, in part.
Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed earlier Thursday that two inmates in the county jail system, as well as a dozen employees of the Miami-Dade corrections office, had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Miami Herald. However, they did not release the names of the inmates in question.
Demons was arrested last year in connection to the deaths of two fellow young rappers: 19-year-old Christopher Thomas Jr. (YNW Juvy) and 21-year-old Anthony Williams (YNW Sakchaser). Authorities allege that Demons killed both men, who were friends of his, and then staged a drive-by shooting to hide the truth, Complex previously reported.
An associate of Demons’, Cortlen Henry (YNW Bortlen), is accused of having assisted him and is also facing charges related to the killings; both have pleaded not guilty, according to the Miami Herald.
Prosecutors in Florida announced last April their intention to seek the death penalty for Demons, Complex reports.
Shortly before he turned himself in to authorities last February, Demons took to Instagram to proclaim his innocence, writing, “I am turning myself in today I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all, a couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice.. unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother @ynw.bortlen and we want y’all to remember it’s a ynw Family.”
Demons’ request comes on the heels of the release of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, who was freed on Thursday due to coronavirus concerns. The judge in question agreed that the 23-year-old rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, was at a greater risk of developing COVID-19 complications, due to having asthma, and ruled that he be allowed to spend the remaining four months of his sentence at home, according to CNN.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.