Prosecutors’ Motion to Take Pics of YNW Melly’s Tattoos to Prove ‘Criminal Gang’ Claim Granted by Court

In February, it was first reported that prosecutors were pushing for the photos to be allowed in connection with a "criminal gang member" claim.

YNW Melly

Image via YouTube/YNW Melly

YNW Melly

The State of Florida’s motion to have photographs taken of YNW Melly’s tattoos has been granted.

As reported by Complex in February, prosecutors previously asked for Melly—who was originally set to begin his murder trial this month—to be subjected to such photography as part of an effort to (in their words) “document the gang-affiliated tattoos.” At the time, it was argued that this was relevant due to the State having previously included a “criminal gang member” allegation in its list of aggravators in support of seeking the death penalty.

In more recent court documents viewed by Complex, it’s noted that the court previously denied the State’s photos-focused motion because it “pertained only to the penalty phase of the trial.” Now, the alleged affiliation is said to be relevant “at the guilt phase,” thus forming the basis of the motion’s granting.

Here’s more, straight from the court docs:

“The Court previously denied the State’s motion to take photographs of the defendant in an order entered on February 18, 2022. Subsequently, on February 23, 2022, a grand jury indicted Defendant of first degree murder committed for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interest of a criminal gang pursuant to [Florida Statute 874.04].”

The referenced statute, notably, focuses on enhanced penalties for alleged “gang-related offenses.” For example, a first-degree felony is able to be punished (using this statute) as though it were a life felony. Second-degree felonies can also be punished as though they’re first-degree felonies, third-degree felonies as though they are second-degree, and so on.

Melly has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the 2018 killings of Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams. As previously reported, the start of Melly’s trial—an explainer on which from Complex’s Shawn Setaro can be found here—was delayed this month due to unresolved issues of the legal variety.

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