The 20-year-old rapper—legal name Jamell Maurice Demons—had filed an emergency motion for restricted release after contracting the disease at Broward County Jail. TMZ reports the motion was ultimately denied, meaning Melly would have to receive his special medical treatments while incarcerated—that is, after he requested the treatments from the Broward Sheriff's Office.
According to his attorney, Bradford Cohen, the South Florida artist was suffering from chills, body aches, and breathing difficulties in the week after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Cohen told Complex he feared his client's condition would worsen, as the jail personnel was failing to take steps that would expedite Melly's recovery.
"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 filed on Monday, which call for the emergency motion for his conditional release. "They have not given them masks, or cleaning supplies that would be beneficial regarding his recovery."
Shortly after Melly filed the motion, the families of his alleged murder victims expressed their opposition to his restricted release. Melly is currently awaiting trial for the 2018 fatal shootings of Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr. The family of the former victim released a statement through their attorney, arguing that Melly should not be released before he is tried by a jury.
"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."
Prisons and jails have become a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, as it is difficult to practice social distancing in overcrowded facilities. A number of cities and states have attempted to curb the spread of the disease in jails and prisons by releasing nonviolent inmates who are either above a certain age or have less than six or three months left to serve.