The state of Florida has dropped the death penalty in the case of YNW Melly ahead of his double-murder trial. In February 2019, the rapper, born Jamel Maurice Demons, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
According to authorities, he and another rapper, YNW Bortlen, shot and killed two of their longtime friends, Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. The original death penalty against Melly has been dropped following his attorneys success in removing corporal punishment from his sentencing based on a technicality.
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On April 27, the Florida rapper’s attorneys filed a motion citing a specific rule in the state’s criminal procedure that would eliminate the death penalty in his sentencing. The court document said that “if the prosecutor intends to seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must give notice to the Defendant of that intent to seek the death penalty.” Furthermore it stated that the notice was to be filed with the court within 45 days of his arraignment.
The documents also claimed that because Melly was arraigned “on or about March 2, 2022,” the state “never filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death the Penalty listing the aggravating factors it intends to prove as it relates to this new or superseinding incident.”
“The state must additionally now prove that the defendant committed the charged offenses for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang, which was never alleged in the original indictment,” read the motion. “Since the 45 day Notice of Intent to Seek Death has expired, the state should therefore be precluded from seeking a penalty of death in this cause.”