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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Lawyers for Jamell “YNW Melly” Demons will get their chance to grill the lead detective on the case again, but Broward Circuit Judge John J. Murphy is placing limits on what they can ask.
Miramar Police Detective Mark Moretti will have to answer questions about his execution of a search warrant in October 2022, during which he seized a phone belonging to the defendant’s mother. A prosecutor has accused Moretti of asking a Broward sheriff’s deputy to lie about being in the room because Moretti was outside his jurisdiction when he took the phone.
Moretti’s official report about the incident accurately reflected who was present and did not mention the deputy, but Demons’ defense lawyers say jurors should know about his alleged willingness to lie about how he gathered evidence.
Murphy is not allowing defense lawyers to ask additional questions about the data taken from the defendant’s cell phone, including the tracking that showed the phone was in the car when the shooting took place.
Demons is accused of gunning down fellow rappers Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams in October 2018 in Miramar after a late-night recording session in Fort Lauderdale. Lawyers say Demons was no longer in the car when the shooting took place, but records show his phone was.
Demons, 24, was tried earlier this year, but a mistrial was declared when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Jury selection is underway for the retrial and is expected to continue at least through November.
Between trials, his lawyers have accused prosecutors of failing to notify them about the allegations against Moretti, allegations they would certainly have raised during the first trial. Without finding actual misconduct, the judge removed prosecutor Kristine Bradley from the case last month. But he rejected a defense motion to dismiss the case.
Demons faces the possibility of a death sentence if he is convicted.