Prosecutors seeking death penalty against rapper YNW Melly in double murder case

Eric Rogers
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Prosecutors seeking death penalty against rapper YNW Melly in double murder case

In a hint to a possible motive, prosecutors also intend to prove the killings were committed for monetary gain.

Florida state prosecutors filed notice last week of their intent to seek the death penalty in the double murder case against rap artist YNW Melly.

Melly, 19, whose real name is Jamell Demons, along with Cortlen Henry, 20, were indicted by a grand jury on first-degree murder charges in the October shooting deaths of two friends in Miramar, Florida.

By state law, first-degree murder is punishable either by death or life without parole for suspects at least 18 years old at the time of the offense.

The appropriate punishment in a given case is decided on the basis of so-called "aggravating factors" which, in the jury's estimation, increase the severity or culpability of a crime, according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University.

Jamell Demons, 19, aka YNW Melly

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In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors stated their intent to prove a number of aggravating factors, arguing the killings were:

  • "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel"
  • "committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification"
  • "committed by a criminal gang member"
Anthony Williams Jr, 21, also known as YNW Sakchaser (left), and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, also known as YNW Juvy

In a hint to a possible motive, prosecutors also intend to prove the killings were committed for monetary gain.

Christopher Thomas, Jr., 19, and Anthony Williams, 21, were shot to death in the early morning hours of Oct. 26 in Miramar, north of Miami.

Thomas and Williams grew up with Demons and Henry in the Vero Beach area. The four were life-long friends and members of the same rap group.

More: YNW Melly pleads not guilty to first-degree murder charges in connection with deaths of friends

More: Grand jury indictment: YNW Melly fired the gun, killing the friends he grew up with

Thomas went by the stage name YNW Juvy, and Williams by the name YNW Sakchaser. Henry went by YNW Bortlen.

Police said Demons pulled the trigger while Henry helped cover the crime by staging the bodies to look like Thomas and Williams were victims of a drive-by shooting.

Henry was also charged with two counts of accessory after the fact. Court records show his attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges in March.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Prosecutors seeking death penalty against rapper YNW Melly in double murder case