After testing positive for coronavirus, incarcerated rapper YNW Melly filed motion for restricted release. His attorney Bradford Cohen claimed his client was not receiving proper care at Broward County Jail, and provided a grim description of the artist's physical state.
"He still has headaches and body aches. Mr. Demons is 114 lbs. The jail is just ill prepared if his diagnosis takes a turn for the worse," Cohen said in legal documents. "They have not given them masks, or cleaning supplies that would be beneficial regarding his recovery."
But despite his diagnosis and dire health condition, the families of Melly's alleged murder victims are strongly opposed to the rapper's medical release. Attorney John Phillips confirmed this week that the family of Christopher Thomas Jr. is taking legal action to ensure Melly remains behind bars:
"A civil suit will soon be filed against a host of Defendants, including Mr. Demons (a.k.a. Melly). However, we are choosing to be the first firm to elect to pursue all of the victim’s rights under Marsy’s Law, an Amendment to the Florida Constitution voted in by voters in 2018," said Phillips, who represents the Thomas family. "We know of no other firm in Florida which as sought to use Marsy’s law to its fullest benefit and are proud Christopher Thomas’s family will be the first. We will seek to attend and be heard at depositions, advocate for victims at each step and make sure justice is fair, firm and full.
"We oppose release of Jamell Demons (YNW Melly), as is explained in the Motion. We again ask the public to be sensitive of the victims here. They lost children ..."
The family of Anthony Williams—Melly's other alleged murder victim—is also pushing against Melly's request for emergency release.
"While our firm and the family of Anthony Williams' sympathize with anyone affected by COVID-19, we do not believe this justifies pretrial release," the family's legal representatives at Steinger, Greene & Feiner told TMZ. "He needs to remain in custody until a jury decides his fate."
The 20-year-old rapper—legal name Jamell Maurice Demons—is awaiting trial for the 2018 murders of Thomas and Williams. Melly and his co-defendant, Cortlen Henry, are accused of fatally shooting the men and staging the crime scene to look like a drive-by shooting. Melly pleaded not guilty to the murder charges in 2019.