Florida rapper YNW Melly accused of killing 2 friends
Rapper YNW Melly is pictured on Nov. 9, 2018. (Source: @YNWMelly / Twitter)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, February 14, 2019 9:24AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 14, 2019 9:26AM EST
MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Police have charged Florida rapper YNW Melly with killing two of his close friends who were also rising rap stars, and trying to make it appear they died in a drive-by shooting.
On Wednesday, Miramar police arrested 19-year-old YNW Melly, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, on first-degree murder charges in October deaths of 19-year-old Christopher Thomas Jr. and 21-year-old Anthony Williams.
The rapper's 20-year-old friend Cortlen Henry also was arrested, in Houston last month, and extradited to Florida on Tuesday in connection with the killings.
Demons was booked into Broward County Jail on Wednesday night.
Investigators said the victims were killed early in the morning of Oct. 26 and driven in a Jeep Compass to the emergency room entrance of Memorial Hospital Miramar, which is 20 miles (32 kilometres) west of Fort Lauderdale. Both were dead of multiple gunshot wounds, police said.
In a news release, Miramar police said Demons shot the men, who were his lifelong friends, and Henry drove the vehicle to the hospital. According to investigators, Demons and Henry staged the Jeep to make it appear as though the victims died in a drive-by shooting.
Henry's statement to investigators didn't match the evidence discovered during the preliminary investigation, police said.
The victims were last seen alive around 3:20 a.m. on Oct. 26 in Fort Lauderdale, records show.
The Sun Sentinel reports the victims had recently moved from Vero Beach to Miramar and were trying to forge their own rap careers. Thomas went by the stage name YNW Juvy while Williams was known as YNW Sakchaser. Both were featured in the "Melly" documentary video posted to YNW Melly's YouTube page. The text at the end of the video notes that four days after the film was completed, "YNW Melly and his friends were the target of a drive-by shooting..."
In a post Wednesday on YNW Melly's official Instagram, he said "a couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice."
YNW Melly's first official studio album "We All Shine" was released last month. He had also recently collaborated with Kanye West.