Rapper YNW Melly could face the death penalty in Florida if he is convicted of killing two of his close friends.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office filed intent to seek the death penalty last week, and they also accused the hip hop artist of being in a gang, the Sun Sentinel reports.
In February, police arrested the 19-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, on first-degree murder charges for the October deaths of 19-year-old Christopher Thomas Jr. and 21-year-old Anthony Williams. Demons’ 20-year-old friend Cortlen Henry also was arrested in Houston in January in connection with the killings. Both Demons and Henry are accused of killing both victims and then staging the crime scene to look like a drive-by shooting. While Henry is also charged with murder, authorities believe Demons did the actual shooting.
“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," Demons wrote on an Instagram post right before he turned himself in. "Unfortunately, a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me."
He previously publicly grieved his friends in an October Instagram post, in which he wrote, "They Took My Brothers From Me Over Jealousy," along with broken heart emojis.
Henry drove the two victims to the hospital after the shooting, claiming they were hit by bullets in a drive-by shooting, but police say his statement to investigators didn’t match the evidence, the Associated Press reported in February.
Demons has been held without bond since his arrest and he’s due back in court on Thursday. His attorney Bradford Cohen says he is not guilty.
The rapper and his friends all appeared to have promising rap careers ahead of them. Demons even collaborated with Kanye West. He previously released a song entitled “Murder on My Mind” in between several jail stints.
Thomas went by YNW Juvy while Williams went by YNW Sakchaser. The alleged killers and victims have been described as lifelong friends.
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