It has been a while since we last heard any updates on the still-upcoming YNW Melly murder trial, but a preliminary hearing today yielded at least some information. We now know, according to XXL, no matter what the outcome, Melly won’t see the death penalty. After hearing out both sides, the judge in the case decided that the death penalty would be off the table should Melly — real name Jamell Demons — be convicted of murdering his associates Chris Thomas and Anthony Williams.
Melly is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say that he and fellow rapper Cortlen Henry shot both Thomas and Williams inside of a vehicle, then drove them to the Miramar Memorial Hospital, where they claimed they were shot in a drive-by on October 26 of 2018. After a four-month investigation, police arrested Demons and Bortlen in February 2019. Melly has remained in jail without bond since; Bortlen was released on bond in 2020 but was arrested again for a probation violation in April 2021. Melly was also denied an early release for a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Melly has since pled not guilty and the trial has been pushed back repeatedly as the defense and prosecution battle over what evidence to admit/omit and a contentious jury selection process. Melly’s mother posted about today’s ruling on Instagram, expressing thanks for the removal of the possibility of the harshest sentence.