FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — An appeals court has cleared the way for prosecutors to seek the death penalty against the rapper, known professionally as YNW Melly, and put the murder case back on track to face a jury.
The trial of Jamell Demons, Melly’s real name, was scheduled to begin in July, but Broward Circuit Judge Andrew Siegel sided with the defense as ruling prosecutors could not seek the death penalty because they failed to properly refer the court informed of this intention.
In a decision this week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that prosecutors had acted properly, had already notified the court of the intention to seek death and were not required to repeat the notification simply because a new indictment was filed against had been submitted to the accused.
“Nowhere does statute or regulation require the state to file an additional notice to the defendant after a substitute indictment that the state seeks the death penalty,” the appeals court wrote in its decision. “The state complied with the law and rule and required notification within 45 days of the indictment.”
Demons, 23, was originally charged in 2019 and charged with the murders of Anthony Williams, known as YNW Sakchaser, and Christopher Thomas Jr., known as YNW Juvy. All had been at a recording session in Fort Lauderdale on October 26, 2018. Prosecutors say the shooting took place while the men were driving in Miramar, with Demons pulling the trigger and another man, Cortlen Henry, driving.
Prosecutors say Demons tried to make the shooting look like a drive-by and Henry reported it to police. However, according to investigators, the evidence did not agree with Henry’s account.
Henry is tried separately.
Prosecutors, as required by law, filed an official letter of intent to seek the death penalty against Demons within 45 days of his indictment.
A substitute charge was filed earlier this year, adding as a possible aggravating factor that the crime was committed with “the purpose of advancing, promoting or promoting the interests of a criminal gang”.
Prosecutors did not renew her request for the death penalty after the later indictment, leading to the lawsuit that the Court of Appeal had just settled.
The next court date has not yet been set.
https://news.yahoo.com/court-clears-way-prosecutors-seek-205400338.html Court clears path for prosecutors to seek death penalty against rapper YNW Melly