YNW Melly murder case ends after judge declares mistrial

The double murder trial of rapper YNW Melly has ended in a mistrial.

Melly, real name Jamell Maurice Demons, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in February 2019 by police investigating the deaths of Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr, who were both shot dead. His associate Cortlen Henry, otherwise known as YNW Bortlen, was also arrested and charged.

Now, The Miami Herald reports that after three days of deliberations, the Broward County, Florida jury told Judge John J. Murphy III that they were “still unable to reach a unanimous decision” and a mistrial was called.

Melly has thus not been found either guilty or not guilty, and prosecutors now have the opportunity to hold another trial within the next 90 days.

As reported by Pitchfork and posted online, Murphy told jurors: “These types of decisions, they’re hard decisions.

“We very much appreciate the fact that you gave us the time because we’ve been here a long time. We understand that. You gave us the time and you did your best effort to [bring about resolution] but unfortunately that wasn’t able to happen.”

YNW Melly
YNW Melly. Credit: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

It was reported last year that an appeals court judge in Florida ruled that Melly could potentially face the death penalty if found guilty in the upcoming trial.

In July, Judge Andrew Siegel ruled that prosecutors could not seek the death penalty in Melly’s case, as they had not given the rapper and his legal team appropriate notice that they planned to do so. In a motion filed in April, Melly’s attorneys cited a Florida criminal law policy outlining that prosecutors must file a notice of intent within 45 days of a defendant being arraigned, something they did not do.

However, in a subsequent ruling last November, Florida’s District Court of Appeal declared Siegel’s ruling incorrect, finding that prosecutors did in fact give appropriate notice of their intent to seek the death penalty when Melly was first charged in 2019.

Demons has pleaded not guilty to both counts of first-degree murder. “A couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice,” the rapper wrote on Instagram shortly after turning himself into authorities. “Unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me.”

Demons’ trial was originally scheduled to commence in March of 2022, but was delayed multiple times. In July, the trial was put on hold until the matter of whether or not the state could seek the death penalty was decided.