Fort Lauderdale, FL –
Rapper YNW Melly was found guilty of murdering two friends five years ago in a South Florida trial on Saturday after a jury stalled and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
A twelve-member committee failed to reach a unanimous verdict after three days of deliberation. Broward County prosecutors, who had sought the death penalty, will likely opt for a new trial with a new jury. A unanimous verdict is required to convict or acquit a defendant.
Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy twice requested that the case be continued after jurors said they were stuck, but softened after returning for the third time.
Prosecutors allege that YNW Merry, whose real name is Jamel Demons, shot and killed Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr., who were in the Jeep. Both Williams and Thomas were members of the He YNW Collective, known respectively as He YNW Succhaser and He YNW His Juvie.
Prosecutors claimed the shooting was part of gang activity, but the defense said the allegations were not credible because the Demons and the victims were close friends.
After a recording session in Fort Lauderdale on October 26, 2018, Demons, Williams, and Thomas were in a Jeep driven by Courtland Henry, better known as YNW Bordren, according to prosecutors. Demons shot Williams and Thomas dead. Henry was indicted as an accomplice in the case and will face a separate trial.
Prosecutors said after killing Williams and Thomas, Demons and Henry drove the bodies to the Everglades area, where they shot Henry’s jeep from the back and passenger side, making it look like Williams and Thomas were victims of gunshots from above.
But prosecutors say ballistics tests showed they were shot from inside the Jeep.
Defense counsel focused on the fact that the gun was never recovered. They also told jurors that YNW Mary had no apparent criminal motive.
YNW Merry broke out in 2017 and then co-wrote Mixed Personalities with Kanye West, released in January 2019, a month before Demons, 24, was arrested on murder charges.