While YNW Melly remains incarcerated on double murder charges, the State of Florida is moving forward with building its case against the rapper.
According to reports from Pitchfork and TMZ, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in his case. Court docs allege that the 19-year-old carried out the crimes in a premeditated fashion for financial gain, as well as was a gang member. In the docs, the State also says it believes it can prove that “the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”
Earlier this month, the “Mixed Personalities” rapper hired Jason Roger Williams, who previously represented Boosie Badazz, to join his legal counsel alongside Brad Cohen and Nicole Burdett. He previously entered a not guilty plea.
In a statement to Billboard, Williams noted how prosecutors were planning on calling for the death penalty since the rapper’s arrest.
He was originally arrested on Feb. 13 of this year after evidence led police to believe the rapper, along with an alleged accomplice, Cortlen “YNW Bortlen” Henry, carried out a double murder and attempted to cover it up to look like a drive-by shooting.
The victims, Christopher “Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “Sak” Williams, were close friends with both YNW Melly and YNW Bortlen, with the former taking to social media to publicly mourn the tragic loss.
“That was always their plan. They’ve indicated that since the beginning of this case,” Williams shared, touching on the prosecutors’ decision to push for the death penalty. “The prosecution wasn’t hiding the ball on this. They were very clear in articulating this was their plan.”
His legal team also shared what the next steps will be in Melly’s trial.
“This Thursday, we’re set for a discovery hearing in this case, at which time the prosecution should disclose everything to us. We’ve received some paper documents, but there’s over 30 CDs of surveillance and records, which they intend to turn over to us,” Melly’s co-counsel Burdett added in a statement to Billboard. “We really haven’t had an opportunity to see their entire case at this time, but we intend to get all of that evidence.”
Additionally, Melly’s legal team believes that if the evidence is fairly portrayed, it will prove their client’s innocence.
“A lot of the time, prosecutors and police officers will hold stuff that doesn’t support the theory of their case until the evening of trial,” Williams explained. “We want this to be a fair process. If it’s a truth finding process, we hope they will turn over everything early on in the case. If they do, we feel that it’s going to be very supportive of innocence in this case.”
The lawyer also noted how the rapper is working to maintain a positive mindset during this testing time.
“We talked to him not too long ago and he’s in good spirits,” Williams said. “He’s at a very wonderful, critical juncture of his career. I know he wishes he could be out here making music and performing. Brad was with him last week and he’s still in a good headspace to fight to prove his innocence and get back to the world.”
More on YNW Melly’s legal situation as it unfolds.