Stay tuned as the jury continues this weekend to consider the double murder trial of rapper YNW Melly – whose birth name is Jamell Demons.
The rising star is accused of killing two of his friends – also rappers – and then staging the killings as a drive-by shootout in the Miami area.
The seized jury deliberated until 5 p.m. ET on Friday before being returned to their hotel. The jury deliberated for more than nine hours between Thursday and Friday.
The jury will continue its third day of deliberations on Saturday at around 8:30 am.
The jury came back several times Friday asking questions about reviewing testimonies and videos, a juror wearing an Apple Watch and what happens if the jury can’t reach a verdict.
Judge John Murphy told the jury what happens when they are stuck and unable to reach a verdict in the YNW Melly double murder trial.
Defense torn due to “personal attacks”.
The prosecution and the defense made their final statements on Thursday morning until the early afternoon.
Prosecutor Kristine Bradley closed the state’s case by citing four reasons why YNW Melly allegedly killed his best friends: anger, greed, resentment and rise in the Bloods gang.
According to the state, there is ample evidence supporting the Florida rapper’s first-degree murder conviction.
Bradley also presented the state’s closing counterargument, summarizing why YNW Melly allegedly killed YNW Juvy and YNW SakChaser.
Bradley then criticized defense attorney Stuart Adelstein for “personal attacks” on the prosecution and their witnesses.
She ended her rebuttal by urging the jury to convict Melly of the double murder, citing that all the evidence points to the rapper being the shooter.
“The investigation itself stinks”
During his closing arguments, Adelstein attempted to debunk the state’s theory that YNW Melly killed his best friends, YNW Juvy and YNW SakChaser, because he was angry, greedy, and wanted to be inducted into the Bloods gang.
“There’s a lack of evidence,” he said. “There is a conflict in the evidence. The evidence itself and the investigation itself stink. I would use a different word, but I would probably be despised.”
Judge John Murphy then reminded the jury of the rules of their deliberations before departing to decide the rapper’s fate.
The case details
In October 2018, Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen, YNW Melly’s best friend, appeared at a Miami-area hospital and claimed that his friends had been hit by a passing car in a shootout.
According to the rapper’s affidavit, he said they bled to death in his car.
Williams, aka YNW Sakchaser, and Thomas, aka YNW Juvy, were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds.
Henry told investigators he was leaving a Fort Lauderdale recording studio with Williams and Thomas when a car stopped and began firing. Henry said he was able to hide from the bullets, but Williams and Thomas were hit.
When police arrived at the “scene of the crime,” they found no evidence that a shooting had taken place.
Surveillance video showed Melly, Henry, Williams and Thomas together in Henry’s car when Henry claimed the shooting took place.
After reviewing phone records and blood spatter, investigators determined the group were together the night of the crime and the victims were shot in the car.
Police arrested Melly in February 2019 for double first degree murder. If convicted, Melly faces the death penalty.
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