Florida rapper YNW Melly, who recently collaborated with Kanye West, has been arrested for the alleged murder and cover-up of two close friends, police said Wednesday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The 19-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the October 2018 shooting deaths of the men. During a short court appearance Thursday morning, Broward Judge Jackie Powell ordered that he remain in jail without bond.
Police said Cortlen Henry, 20, was also arrested in connection with the shooting and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The victims, Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, suffered multiple gunshot wounds early on Oct. 26, 2018, and driven to the emergency room entrance of Memorial Hospital Miramar, where they were pronounced dead. Police say Demons shot the two, while Henry drove the car; the pair staged the crime scene, a Jeep Compass, to make it appear that a drive-by shooting had taken place. Details in Henry’s statement did not match the evidence they discovered in a preliminary investigation, police said.
Demons posted on Instagram Wednesday night that he was turning himself in. “I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all,” he wrote. “A couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice.. unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother @ynw.bortlen and we want y’all to remember it’s a ynw Family I love you @ynwsakchaser1 and 2ynwjuvy #freeus.”
The two dead men were featured in the “Melly” documentary video, which is posted on the rapper’s YouTube page. At the end of the documentary, on-screen text notes that four days after the film was completed, “YNW Melly and his friends were the target of a drive-by shooting in Miami, Florida. YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser were killed.”
Several days after the killings, Demons attorney Bradford Cohen said of his client, “He’s sad, he’s upset, obviously. Those were his best friends.” Cohen did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
In a tweet posted the day after the killings, Demons wrote in part, “They Took My Brothers From Me Over Jealousy I know y’all watching over me … and after, they wanna see me break down and stop or in jail or a box…”
Melly was scheduled to begin a tour as a support act on Kodak Black’s “Dying to Live” tour on March 14. He was recently featured on Kanye West on the song “Mixed Personalities,” from Melly’s album “We All Shine,” released last month. His biggest song to date is “Murder on My Mind,” which he posted on SoundCloud in March of 2017.