Mistrial Declared in YNW Melly Double-Murder Trial In Florida

Mistrial YNW Melly
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Mistrial YNW Melly
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Photo Credit: Jason Dent

After 19 days and hearing arguments, a Florida judge declared a mistrial on Saturday after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision regarding the double-murder accusations against YNW Melly.

Broward County, Florida, Circuit Judge John Murphy declared a mistrial on Saturday after 19 days of court proceedings after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision regarding the double-murder accusations against YNW Melly. Broward County prosecutors will likely choose to retry the case with a new jury.

While Melly’s defense team thanked the jury for their efforts in court, they told local reporters they were expecting a different result.

“We are somewhat disappointed that Melly is not walking out the door with us,” said Stuart Adelstein, Melly’s defense attorney. “There is a lack of evidence; there is a conflict in the evidence, and the evidence itself, and the investigation itself, stinks.”

Jamell “Melly” Demons, 24, is accused of fatally shooting Christopher “Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthoney “Sakchaser” Williams on the early morning of October 26, 2018, in a Jeep Compass driven by Cortland “Bortland” Henry, a co-defendant who is awaiting trial.

Henry reported a drive-by shooting in which Thomas and Williams were the victims. The prosecution accused Demons of killing Thomas and Williams and Henry helping to cover it up. The defense insists Demons had nothing to do with the shooting.

“Everyone is stuck on which side they have chosen,” wrote the jury’s foreperson, according to Judge Murphy, who asked the jury to give deliberations another chance to see if they could agree on a verdict. If not, Murphy told the jury that he would have to declare a mistrial in the case and dismiss them.

After nearly two more hours, the jury requested to watch the surveillance video that the prosecution displayed during testimony that allegedly showed the moving Jeep Compass. 

The video shows Thomas, 19, and Williams, 21, both last seen alive when they got into the Jeep Compass with Demons and Henry at the New Era Recording Studio at around 3:20 AM. According to prosecutors and detectives, Henry showed up with both victims at around 4:35 AM at Memorial Hospital Miramar.

Prosecutors presented the testimony of a detective and expert witnesses who disagreed with Henry’s report. The Estimated trajectory of the bullets and the characteristics of the wound contradicted Henry’s statement that they had been the victims of a drive-by shooting. The prosecution cited cell phone data, which the defense disputed was not adequately verified, as part of the evidence used to accuse Demons and Henry of staging a drive-by shooting in a desolated area.

A grand jury indicted Demons on February 7, 2019, and he surrendered to Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies on February 13, 2019, where he has since been held without bond. His trial’s opening statements began on June 12, with 16 days of testimony, while closing arguments ended on Thursday.