Rapper YNW Melly has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) while in jail awaiting trial for the double murder of his two friends. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the double murder charges.
“Melly has tested positive for COVID-19 while awaiting his trial in Broward County Jail,” a statement posted to Melly’s Twitter account read.
Due to his condition, Melly, 20, will “be filing a motion for restricted release in hopes of better care due to any jails not being prepared to treat this new virus.”
“He hopes for your support and to recover soon #prayformelly,” the statement concluded.
Melly’s attorney told PEOPLE in a statement, “Yes he has tested positive for COVID-19. The jails and prisons in this country are creating an extremely dangerous situation by not providing hand sanitizer and proper hygiene care. I have prepared and will be filing an emergency motion in the morning for his conditional release.”
Melly potentially faces the death penalty if convicted of the double murder.
Last April, the State of Florida announced its decision to seek capital punishment against Melly because prosecutors believe they can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Melly murdered aspiring rappers Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, for “financial gain,” according to court documents obtained by XXL magazine.
“The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and he committed homicide in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner,” the court documents allege.
Florida is one of the 30 states where capital punishment is legal.
Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, was arrested in February after allegedly shooting Williams and Thomas Jr. on Oct. 26.
After the shooting, which took place in Fort Lauderdale, Melly — allegedly with the help of another rapper identified as Cortlen Henry aka YNW Bortlen — covered up the murder by making it look as if it was a drive-by shooting, Miramar Police claimed in a statement shared on Twitter.
The victims were then allegedly driven to Memorial Hospital Miramar by Henry, 26, in a Jeep Compass at around 4:35 a.m., Sun-Sentinel reported.
Williams and Thomas were both pronounced dead at the hospital.
Williams was also known as YNW Sakchaser and Thomas was known as YNW Juvy. Both rappers were featured in a documentary about Melly posted on Melly’s YouTube page.
According to documents obtained by Complex and TMZ, Melly’s booking report out of Miramar, Florida, says that Henry drove to an emergency room in the early morning hours asking for help for two friends in his car, claiming they had been shot in a drive-by.
Police say Henry told them he and the two victims had just wrapped a late-night studio session when a car pulled up on his driver’s side and opened fire as he was pulling off the freeway, TMZ reported. Cops confirmed there were eight bullet holes along the right side of the vehicle where Williams and Thomas Jr. sat, and Henry escaped injury.
Cops said they found a shell casing inside Henry’s vehicle, along with eight matching shell casings in a different location, where they think Melly and Henry shot the car to make it look like a drive-by, according to TMZ, who also reports that cops believe that the initial shot was fired from inside the car on the left rear passenger side. After reviewing surveillance footage, cops concluded that Melly had been sitting on the left rear passenger side of the car.
“Evidence from the autopsy revealed that both victims’ wound paths to their heads were from a left to right direction. This directly contradicts the statements made by Henry and do not support the statements of a drive-by shooting that occurred on the right side of the vehicle,” Complex quotes the court documents as saying.
Additionally, the outlet reports that the police allege Melly and Henry drove around with the bodies of Williams and Thomas Jr. after they had been shot “for a period of time” before driving to the hospital. Henry later told police that Melly was, in fact, in the same car with them, but eventually got into another vehicle.
On Feb. 13, 2019, Melly, revealed on Instagram that he would be turning himself in to authorities.
Henry was arrested in January in Houston and was extradited to Broward.
Just after the murder, Melly’s attorney Bradford Cohen said, according to the Sun Sentinel, the rapper is “sad, he’s upset, obviously.”
“Those are his best friends,” Cohen said.
In March, Melly and Henry pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the case, Billboard reported. Both men remain behind bars without bond.
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