After three days of deliberation, a deadlocked jury has led to a mistrial in the double murder trial of rapper YNW Melly, RadarOnline.com has learned.
The 22-year-old artist, whose real name is Jamell Demons, was accused of killing two fellow rappers and conspiring to make it look like a drive-by shooting in October 2018.
Prosecutors alleged that Demons shot Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr. inside a Jeep following a recording session in Fort Lauderdale.
Williams and Thomas were both members of the YNW collective, known as YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy, respectively. The prosecution claimed that the shooting was part of a gang-related action.
The defense argued that Demons and the victims were close friends and that the claim of it being a gang action lacks credibility.
During the trial, the rapper’s legal team also highlighted that the gun used in the shooting was never recovered and that Demons had no apparent motive for the crime.
According to TMZ, the jury, consisting of 12 members, could not reach a unanimous verdict, which led to the mistrial.
Broward County prosecutors, who had sought the death penalty for Demons, are expected to retry the case with a new jury. In Florida, a unanimous verdict is required to convict or acquit a defendant.
Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy had twice requested the jury to continue deliberating after they reported being deadlocked. However, he ultimately declared a mistrial when they came back a third time without reaching a decision.
Following the shooting, the bodies of Williams and Thomas were reportedly driven to an area near the Everglades, where the exterior of the Jeep was shot to make it appear as though they had been victims of a drive-by shooting. But ballistics tests conducted by the prosecution determined that the victims were shot from inside the vehicle.
Cortland Henry, known as YNW Bortlen, who was driving the Jeep during the incident, is charged as an accomplice in the case. He will be tried separately.
YNW Melly rose to fame in 2017 and gained further recognition with his collaboration with Kanye West on the song Mixed Personalities, released in January 2019 – just a month before Demons’ arrest on murder charges.
With the mistrial, the outcome of the case remains uncertain. The prosecution will now have to regroup and prepare for a new trial, seeking justice for the families of the victims and potentially a conviction for YNW Melly.