Prosecutors Request Photos of YNW Melly’s Tattoos to Prove ‘Gang Affiliation’ While Seeking Death Penalty in Murder Case
The newest development in YNW Melly's double-homicide case has prosecutors seeking photographs of the rapper's tattoos to prove his gang affiliations.
According to court documents obtained by XXL on Wednesday (Feb. 9), dated for Tuesday (Feb. 8), the State of Florida is pushing for Judge Andrew Siegel—who is presiding over YNW Melly's case in connection to the Oct. 26, 2018 murders of his two associates, YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser—to order that photos be taken of Melly to "document the gang affiliated tattoos" on his body.
The document notes that the pictures of Melly, born Jamell Demons, would not be for the purpose of reenactment, but adds that "this is relevant as the State has previously identified the aggravator for seeking the death penalty as the crime was committed by a criminal gang member as identified in Florida Statue 874.03."
Based on documents from April of 2019, prosecutors filed a motion seeking the death penalty for YNW Melly, offering the following as reasons the motion should be granted, without reasonable doubt: "the capital felony was committed for pecuniary gain, the capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, the capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification" and lastly, which is the prosecutor's argument, "the capital felony was committed by a criminal gang member."
One month before the courts pushed for Melly to receive the death penalty for two first-degree murder charges, the "Banana Split" rhymer entered a not guilty plea for the killings of Juvy (real name Christopher Thomas Jr.) and Sakchaser (Anthony Williams).
The Florida native has been behind bars ever since he was arrested in 2019 in connection to the crime over three years ago. Melly's other associate, YNW Bortlen, born Cortlen Henry, who was granted $90,000 from jail due to coronavirus concerns, was taken into custody back in 2019 as well on identical charges, in addition to two counts of accessory after the fact.
Melly and Bortlen both initially claimed that Juvy and Sakchaser were killed in a drive-by shooting, but investigators in the case later determined that the young men were murdered inside the Jeep Compass they were riding in with Melly and Bortlen.
Detectives in the case uncovered evidence allowing them to believe that Melly was the shooter and sat in the left passenger seat of the SUV. Claims also include that Melly and Bortlen drove around with the deceased bodies in the car for an extensive period of time.
YNW Melly's manager at the time, Jameson Francois', was named in the incident as well. Francois was accused by authorities of providing misinformation to the case's investigator. Apparently, Francois, who also goes by the name Track, provided false statements to law officials and claimed to be unaware of Melly's location around the time of the shooting.
However, documents state that the manager spoke with Melly following the deadly shooting and drove him out of the area afterwards.
Based on court documents, YNW Melly has a court hearing scheduled for Feb. 16 and his trial is set to begin on March 7.