Trial invalidated in YNW Melly’s double murder trial in Florida

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Mistrial YNW Melly

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Credit: Jason Dent

After 19 days of hearing arguments, a Florida judge on Saturday invalidated the case after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on the double murder charges against YNW Melly.

Circuit Judge John Murphy of Broward County, Fla., Saturday declared a wrongful trial after 19 days of trial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on the double murder charges against YNW Melly. Broward County prosecutors will likely choose to retry the case with a new jury.

While thanking the jury in court for their efforts, Melly’s defense team made the announcement on the spot reporter they expected a different result.

“We’re a little disappointed that Melly isn’t 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 stink.”

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

Henry reported a drive-by shooting in which Thomas and Williams were the victims. Prosecutors charged Demons killed Thomas and Williams and Henry helped cover up the act. The defense insists Demons had nothing to do with the shooting.

“Everyone disagrees on which side they chose,” the jury chairman wrote, according to Judge Murphy, who asked the jury to give the deliberations another chance to see if they could reach an agreement on a verdict. If not, Murphy told the jury he would have to invalidate the case and dismiss them.

After nearly two more hours, the jury asked to see surveillance video prosecutors showed during testimony, which allegedly showed the moving Jeep Compass.

The video shows 19-year-old Thomas and 21-year-old Williams, both of whom were last seen alive boarding the Jeep Compass with Demons and Henry at the New Era Recording Studio around 3:20 a.m. According to prosecutors and investigators, Henry showed up with both victims at Miramar Memorial Hospital around 4:35 a.m.

Prosecutors produced testimony from a detective and expert witness who disagreed with Henry’s account. The estimated trajectory of the bullets and the characteristics of the wound contradicted Henry’s statement that they were victims of a drive-by gunfight. Prosecutors cited cellphone data, which the defense said the verification was insufficiently verified, as part of the evidence used to accuse Demons and Henry of staging a drive-by shooting in an abandoned area.

A grand jury indicted Demons on February 7, 2019, and he turned himself in to the Deputy Sheriff’s Office of Broward on February 13, 2019, where he has been held without bail ever since. The opening arguments of his trial began on June 12 with a 16-day testimony, while the closing arguments ended on Thursday.