Closing arguments are underway in the double murder trial of rapper Jamell “YNW Melly” Demons, the Miramar rapper accused of suddenly and inexplicably assassinating two of his friends inside a Jeep after a late night-early morning recording session in Fort Lauderdale in 2018.
Prosecutor Kristine Bradley started her closing argument Thursday morning on the same notes as her opening three weeks ago, reminding jurors that the shots that killed Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas came from inside the Jeep where they died, from the seat where, by every account, Demons was sitting.
The phone Demons was using tracked the Jeep’s location throughout that morning, Bradley said, reviewing evidence that the phone was used consistently by the defendant.
Demons and his co-defendant, Cortland “YNW Bortlen” Henry told investigators afterward that the men were shot in a drive-by shooting. But investigators found no evidence of a drive-by, and no evidence that the shots that killed Williams and Thomas came from anywhere other than inside the car.
There was also no evidence presented during trial that anyone other than Demons was seated behind the driver’s seat at any point the early morning of the shooting.
The defense has focused its counterargument on two factors — first, that the gun was never recovered and, therefore, never tied to the defendant, and second, that Demons had no apparent motive.
But prosecution witnesses presented evidence that Demons was a member of an offshoot of the Bloods street gang, and that he squabbled with the victims over money and creative credit. Prosecutors are not obliged to prove motive, but in this case it could factor into punishment if Demons is found guilty.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and would be able to use gang-related activity as an aggravating factor to seek Demons’ execution.
Closing arguments from the defense are scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.