YNW Melly on trial: Prosecution presents final witnesses

Man testifies YNW Melly changed clothes after murders, was at Fredo Bang’s house

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida rapper YNW Melly was back in court on Monday during his trial for the murders of two of his fellow YNW Collective rappers over four years ago.

The prosecution accused Jamell “Melly” Demons of fatally shooting Christopher “Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “Sakchaser” Williams on Oct. 26, 2018, in Broward County.

Detective Mark Moretti, of the Miramar Police Department, was on the stand after the jury’s lunch break to testify about the evidence in the case, which included Snapchat messages.

“Dis [racial slur for Black] saved my life he koming everywhere wit me kuz if dem [racial slur for white] come grab him it’s my fault ... I keep Bortlen wit kuz at the end of the day he did some of the realest [expletive] in my life,” Demons wrote in separate messages on Nov. 9, 2018, to his then-girlfriend Mariah Hamilton, according to prosecutors.

The message was part of a tense exchange between Hamilton and Demons, who were both referring to Cortlen “Bortlen” Henry, a YNW Collective rapper who is a co-defendant in the case, according to prosecutors.

Before the detective, Treveon Miliak Glass testified that he knew Thomas, 19, for over a decade, and Williams, 21, for a couple of years. He said they were together at the New Era Recording Studio in Fort Lauderdale before the murders.

“We were supposed to have a 12-hour session,” Glass said adding that he and others were sleepy so they left earlier than planned.

Glass, of Vero Beach, said he was in the studio with them smoking marijuana and left the studio in a red Mitsubishi with three others to Demons’s home where he fell asleep in a bedroom on the second floor.

Glass said several phone calls woke him up, and when he learned of the shooting, he rushed to the hospital. After getting the news that his friends were dead, Glass said they left for the home of Louisiana rapper Fredrick “Fredo Bang” Givens where he saw Demons.

“He wasn’t wearing the same clothes,” Glass said adding Demons was wearing shorts.

Surveillance video shows Demons, Thomas, and Williams left the recording studio at the same time with Henry, who was driving a Jeep Compass, according to prosecutors.

Instead of going to Demons’s home in Miramar, prosecutors said Henry drove to a desolated area to stage a drive-by shooting after Demons had shot the rappers in the head while in the Jeep.

Henry reported there was a drive-by shooting on Miramar Parkway.

“We didn’t find any shell casings,” Moretti said in court. “We didn’t find any shards of glass.”

Moretti said cell phone records later pointed him to an area near the intersection of U.S. 27 and Pembroke Road.

“It a very desolate place,” Moretti said adding, the west side of U.S. 27 is a canal.

During Glass’s testimony, the prosecution displayed messages from Glass’s Facebook messenger account to Demons on the day of the murders. Glass said he was trying to get information about the shooting.

Demons first released “Murder on My Mind” on SoundCloud in 2017, and 300 Entertainment released it as a single on June 2018. The golden single later peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 and his albums “Melly vs. Melvin” and “Just a Matter of Slime” followed.

A grand jury indicted Demons on Feb. 7, 2019, and he surrendered to Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies on Feb. 13, 2019. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of premeditated first-degree murder. Deputies have held him without bond for over four years.

The opening statements were on June 12. Forensic experts testified about the evidence of the shooting and Henry’s allegations. The court was in recess from June 30 to July 10.

If convicted, Demons faces the possibility of life in prison without parole or the death penalty under the new state law that no longer requires unanimous agreement.

Henry is facing two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of accessory after the fact. He appeared in court on June 30 and his trial is set to start in October.

Broward County Circuit Judge John Murphy is presiding over both cases.



The first week of trial: Opening statements were on June 12

The second week of trial: Prosecution’s witnesses continue to testify

The third week of trial: Testimony continues

The court is in recess

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.