A judge ruled that a 8 to 4 jury split could get YNW Melly the death penalty if convicted for allegedly killing his two friends
The presiding judge in YNW Melly’s case has allowed the prosecution to use a new law that will increase his chances of getting the death sentence should a majority of the jury find him guilty.
The rapper is currently on trial along with a colleague for the murders of two of his friends. According to the prosecution, YNW Melly and his co-accused YNW Bortlen killed two of their friends by shooting them at close range, then staged a shootout to make it seem like the men died from a drive-by shooting.
If Melly is convicted, he was originally only facing life imprisonment, but it seems that the death penalty is back on the table, and new changes to the law will allow him to be convicted by a mere majority rather than a unanimous decision.
According to Law & Crime, Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy is allowing the prosecution to use the new law, which will allow a 12-member jury to recommend a death sentence once there is a majority vote of 8:4.
The Broward County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that this new requirement replaces a taller standard that the jury panel should have a unanimous guilty vote from the panel before the death sentence could come into play.
The “Murder on My Mind” rapper’s trial is set to start the week of June 20th, and a jury is yet to be impaneled.
His case is one to watch as he is among the first cases in the state of Florida where the new statute will come into play, and federally, it is the first statute of its kind with such a low standard for imposing the death penalty. The statute was passed as a response to the Parkland High School mass shooter Nikolas Cruz being sentenced to life in prison after a jury came 9-3 jury rather than unanimous to ensure he received the death penalty.
The rapper remains in custody along with Bortlen on first-degree murder charges since 2019. Bortlen had received bond but was re-arrested in 2021 for violating conditions.
According to prosecutors, there is strong evidence proving that Melly and Bortlen killed Chris Thomas, called YNW Juvy, and Anthony Williams, called YNW Sakchaser, in 2018.
The rapper is accused of being the one who shot and killed the two victims while Bortlen took them to the Memorial Hospital in Miramar, Florida, where he alleged they were killed in a drive-by shooting.
YNW Melly’s family has not commented on the latest development.