YNW Melly No Longer Facing Death Penalty in Double Murder Case


YNW Melly will no longer face the death penalty in his upcoming double murder trial, Pitchfork can confirm. The Florida rapper was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in February 2019. Police said he and another rapper, YNW Bortlen, shot and killed longtime friends Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. The state of Florida had sought the death penalty against Melly since the beginning of the case, but the rapper’s attorneys were able to remove capital punishment from the sentencing based on a technicality.

According to court documents viewed by Pitchfork, Melly’s attorneys filed a motion to preclude the state from seeking the death penalty on April 27. It cites a specific rule in Florida’s criminal procedure, stating that “if the prosecutor intends to seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must give notice to the Defendant of that intent to seek the death penalty. This notice must be filed with the Court within 45 days of the arraignment.” The document goes on to state that while Melly was arraigned on the superseding indictment “on or about March 2, 2022,” the state “has never filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death the Penalty listing the aggravating factors it intends to prove as it relates to this new or superseding indictment.”

The filing continues: “The State must must additionally now prove that the Defendant committed the charged offenses for the of purpose benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang, which was never alleged in the original Indictment. Since the 45 day Notice of Intent to Seek Death has expired, the State should therefore be precluded from seeking a penalty of death in this cause.”

The year following Melly’s incarceration, the rapper was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit, brought about by the estates of Thomas and Williams. Melly’s associate YNW Bortlen was granted release on bond in the spring of 2020.

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