The highly anticipated trial of rapper YNW Melly began on June 12, drawing significant attention from fans and the media alike. YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, is facing charges related to a double homicide that occurred in 2018.
In October 2018, Melly allegedly shot and killed two of his friends and fellow rappers, Anthony Williams (YNW Sakchaser) and Christopher Thomas Jr. (YNW Juvy), and subsequently staged the crime scene to make it appear as if a drive-by shooting had taken place. There has been a substantial amount of coverage leading up to the trial, including Complex’s thorough examination of court documents pertaining to the case and the Spotify-partnered podcast Infamous: The Story of YNW Melly.
According to journalist Bryson Paul, who has been reporting on the YNW Melly trial on his Twitter account, presiding Judge Murphy III announced that the trial “will conclude at the end of July.” So as the trial continues to unfold, we’ve been putting together a timeline documenting moments from YNW Melly’s trial.
This post will be updated as more things occur.
June 12, 2023: YNW Melly’s double-murder trial begins
The trial against rapper YNW Melly began on the morning of June 12 in Florida’s Broward County courtroom. YNW Melly faces two counts of first-degree murder for the 2019 shooting deaths of his alleged friends and fellow rappers.
June 12, 2023: Boosie attends trial
Boosie attended the first day of YNW Melly’s trial in South Florida wearing a black button-down shirt, black sunglasses, and a bright orange overcoat. A video of the Louisiana rapper walking through the courthouse has been circulating on social media. Boosie, who collaborated with YNW Melly on their 2018 track, “Free Trell (Remix),” told XXL that he was going to the trial “to support him.” “I talked to his mom the other night. I’m going to support Melly,” he said in the June interview ahead of trial. “I was on a plane with Melly one day in the airport with him. We was in the airport, and he took his credit card out. He ain’t let me buy nothing, bro. He bought all my food, my magazines. All through the airport he like, 'OG, you ain’t spending no money.' So, I’m going to support that little nigga, dawg.”
June 12, 2023: Prosecutors mention Fredo Bang’s alleged involvement in court statement
Opening statements for YNW Melly’s murder trial began on June 12. During prosecutor Kristine Bradley’s opening statement, she alleged that Fredo Bang picked up Melly in a vehicle after allegedly committing the double homicide. “What you’re also going to find out is that while Mr. Demons is out on the road at 4 in the morning…he sends a drop pin to his current location to one of his friends, Frederick Givens. Frederick Givens is also involved in the music industry, and [Melly] asked to be picked up,” Bradley said during her opening remarks. Prior to trial in January, Fredo Bang, whose real name is Frederick Givens, released a statement through his attorney, stating, “Mr. Givens does not intend to cooperate with the prosecution of this case.”
June 20, 2023: Motion for mistrial denied
On June 20, Broward County Circuit Judge John Murphy denied YNW Melly’s motion for a mistrial. The motion for a mistrial came from YNW Melly’s legal team after his lawyer alleged the case was “tainted” after Felicia Holmes’, the mother of Melly’s ex-girlfriend, was allowed to take the stand and give her testimony. Both the prosecution and defense teams argued over Holmes’ testimony. The defense didn’t want Holmes to take the stand, while the prosecution argued Holmes needed to discuss the original police statement she gave in 2018, in which she claimed Melly spoke to Holmes’ daughter about the night of the murders. The defense was also pushing for a mistrial after suggesting the prosecution did not have enough evidence to present after things such as Snapchat memories and Melly’s single “Murder on My Mind” could not be used during trial.
June 20, 2023: Mugshots of Melly’s lawyer go viral
In the second week of YNW Melly’s trial, attention turned to the rapper’s lawyer Raven Liberty, whose 2022 mugshot began circulating online. The viral mugshot was shared by DJ Akademiks on his Instagram account on June 20. According to a report from HipHopDX, the mugshot stems from Liberty's arrest for battery on August 25, 2022, in Miami. Liberty reportedly had to pay a penalty of $1,500 to drop all of the charges.
June 27, 2023: Young Thug, Boosie, French Montana, Juelz Santana, Quando Rondo mentioned in text message evidence between gang members
According to WPLG Local 10 News Miami, prosecutors accused YNW Melly of being associated with the Bloods gang, which they claim was the motive for the murder of his two friends. To back up this claim, the prosecution obtained 123 text messages sent between GBK gang members that mentioned high profile rappers including Young Thug, Boosie, French Montana, Juelz Santana, Quando Rondo, and more. Detective Danny Polo, who took the stand in court, was instructed to read several of the text messages. According to reporter Bryson Paul who has been documenting the case from the beginning, Det. Polo said Juelz Santana is allegedly a Blood gang member. He also said that he believed YNW Melly was “being recruited by two different G-Shine Bloods gang members” based on text message conversations.
June 29, 2023: Detective determines the crime scene was not the result of a drive-by shooting
During the trial on June 28, crime scene detective Sgt. Christopher Williams was called to the witness stand, where he claimed a drive-by shooting caused the deathsthat the bullets that killed the two victims were not a result of a drive-by shooting. According to Williams, the “shooting happened from somebody inside the car.” Williams came to this conclusion after recreating the crime scene. He also mentioned the angles of the bullets entering the victims’ bodies as evidence. Sgt. Williams’ testimony is significant because it aims to debunk Melly’s original claim that a drive-by shooting caused the deaths.