YNW MELLY could be given the death penalty if he's found guilty of murdering his two best pals who were gunned down in the streets of Florida.
The rapper begged Kanye West – who he collaborated with on single ‘Mixed Personalities’ – to help clear his name.
Who is YNW Melly?
Rapper YNW Melly, 21, was born Jamell Maurice Demons and grew up in the town of Gifford, Florida.
In 2015, at the age of 16, Melly was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and firing a gun in front of three other students near a high school in Gifford.
Getting locked up was the inspiration for his single, 'Murder on My Mind', according to Distractify.
Just two years later, on his 18th birthday, he posted on Facebook: "I apologize to all my fans.
"I'll be locked up in level 6 program for six months I was sentenced on my 18th birthday May 1, 2017, due to negative music. Just know I did it for y'all I'll be back shortly."
During 2017, speaking to Billboard while on probation, Melly said he had already been "in-and-out of jail "at least six or seven times" for little "things" including possession of firearms, marijuana charges, and other drugs.
He came to prominence off the success of singles like ‘Murder On My Mind’ and ‘Slang That Iron’.
YNW Melly, who signed with the labels of fellow rappers Future and Young Thug, also won a growing following on YouTube and SoundCloud.
His album ‘We All Shine’ features a collaboration with Kanye West – their music video 'Mixed Personalities' was released early 2019 on YouTube.
His net worth is estimated at around $1.5million.
What crimes is YNW Melly accused of committing?
He’s accused of killing Anthony Williams, 21, and 19-year-old Christopher Thomas Jr. on October 26, 2018, after leaving a recording studio in Fort Lauderdale.
Thomas went by the stage name YNW Juvy, while Williams was known as YNW Sakchaser.
They were both pursuing rap careers.
After their deaths, Melly paid tribute to the two youths by tweeting: "They took my brothers from me over jealousy."
He said the pair's killers "want to see me break down and stop or in jail or a box."
But on Instagram he posted that he was "turning myself in".
Melly said: “To all my fans and supporters no I did not get locked up in Washington, but I am turning myself in today.
“I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all.
“A couple of months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice [sic].
“Unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me… I love you.”
Melly's friend Cortlen Henry (YNW Bortlen) was also charged with murder, but authorities believe the rapper shot the pair, say court documents.
Melly has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Distractify reports that Cortlen allegedly staged the double killings to look like a drive-by shooting, where he and Melly were lucky to be alive.
Henry allegedly drove the two teenage victims to the emergency room entrance of Memorial Hospital Miramar, where they died as a result of their injuries.
Melly is currently in custody at Broward County Jail in Florida awaiting his double-murder trial.
In April 2020, he tweeted Kanye West, asking for his help: "@kanyewest need your help Dm."
Melly had been diagnosed with Covid-19 at the time, and was seeking to be freed from prison.
But officials denied his house arrest bid.
His lawyer, Bradford Cohen unsuccessfully argued that Melly was in danger of dying and the prison was giving inadequate health care.
The families of his alleged murder victims said the rapper shouldn't be released, and alleged that he could potentially threaten them and other witnesses.
Then, in May 2019 his official Instagram account shared a phone message from Melly.
He said: "I just want to let all my fans know that God is real.
"He has anointed my head with oils, feel me? He has cleansed my soul. He has blessed me tremendously… He is the reason I'm coming home."
Despite his optimism, the State of Florida is pushing for the death penalty – should he be found guilty of the double murders.
Citing court papers, Fader reports that prosecutors say that can prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" that the killings were "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel," and that the motive was linked to monetary gain.
Also, prosecutors believe Demons was part of a gang.
He last appeared in court on March 12, and although he was scheduled to reappear on August 13, 2020, court documents show this hearing didn't take place, reports Distractify.
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