According to Billboard, a Florida appeals court ruled at Wednesday’s hearing (November 9) that prosecutors could actually seek the death penalty for Melly (real name Jamell Demons) if he’s convicted in the killings of his two friends YNW Sakchaser (Anthony Williams) and YNW Juvy (Christopher Thomas Jr) in October 2018.
Florida’s District Court of Appeal overturned Judge Andrew Siegel’s ruling from the summer where he said prosecutors couldn’t use capital punishment against Melly because prosecutors “had failed to give Melly and his attorneys proper notice that they planned to do so.”
The appeals court believe that Melly and his legal team were given enough time since it put the death penalty idea out there once the “Murder On My Mind” rapper was originally charged in 2019, so the prosecution didn’t violate state law.
“We find that the state complied with its statutory obligations when it filed its notice of intent to seek the death penalty within 45 days of arraignment,” Judge Spencer D. Levine wrote when reinstating the death penalty option. “The fact that the state filed a superseding indictment, requiring a second arraignment, does not vitiate the already filed and timely notice of intent. Notice is notice.”
That is only a temporary ruling as the death penalty provision is expected to be heard by Florida’s Supreme Court at a later date this year.
“[We] look forward to our opportunity to argue our position before the justices,” Melly’s attorney Phillip Horrowitz told Billboard while admitting he was “disappointed by the ruling.”
YNW Melly has remained behind bars without bond since being arrested by Miramar Police in February 2019 on double-murder charges.
“Jamell Demons, a.k.a. YNW Melly & Cortlen Henry have been arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder,” Miramar police wrote on Twitter at the time. “The victims, Anthony Williams & Christopher Thomas Jr., were killed on 10/26/2018.
“The investigation, supported by forensic evidence, has concluded that Demons shot and killed Williams & Thomas Jr. and that Demons and Henry staged the crime scene to resemble a drive-by shooting.”
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Williams and Thomas Jr. suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were driven to Memorial Hospital Miramar at 4:35 a.m. where they passed away. The hospital is located about 20 miles outside of Fort Lauderdale.
YNW Melly pleaded not guilty and has maintained his innocence against the charges. He remains without an official trial date after it was once again delayed in July.