YNW Melly is being sued by the families of his alleged murder victims.
For months Florida rapper YNW Melly has been assuring fans that he is on his way to freedom while he remains behind bars. The 21-year-old is currently serving time for a double homicide after being charged for murdering his two friends and former YNW members Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams in October 2018. Melly, along with his co-defendant Cortlen Henry was arrested in February 2019.
As the trial continues to loom over his head, it turns out, YNW Melly has another thing coming. The attorney representing Thomas and his family has filed a civil lawsuit against him for wrongful death. The civil suit didn’t explicitly state the monetary figure being sought in damages as Phillips says that will be left up to the jury. “In a wrongful death such as this, no amount of money will make the family whole, make the family happy,” Phillips told Complex. “But that’s the way the civil justice system works.” The attorney also said that he had to file the civil suit now because the time has almost elapsed for the two-year statute of limitations in Florida.
Todd Baker, the legal counsel for Williams’s side, also filed a suit for wrongful “murder” claiming “damages are in the millions or tens of millions of dollars or more.” He mentioned in the lawsuit that “tension began to develop between the once cohesive group of friends about how the money should be distributed. When there are fewer people splitting up the prospective money, the people on the receiving end will get more.”
The two civil suits against Bortlen and YNW Melly named several parties, including the rapper’s manager, Jameson Francois, and his mother, Jamie King. According to John Phillips, the latter was named in the suit because they have reason to believe that she could have been a motive for her son. A Snapchat video that surfaced online in early 2019 documents King verbally flogging Sakchaser, who she claimed threatened her and her friends.
The video reportedly contains threatening language toward the deceased. “Don’t ever try to come for me, ’cause I don’t even play them type of games. What the f**k you got that I ain’t got? Oh, you threatening me with your little gun,” King stated in the clip. “B***h, I got big guns.” Phillips believes that if the theory pans out and Melly’s crime was a reprisal for the dispute between Williams and his mother, it will serve both plaintiffs in the civil suit. “We could be completely wrong but that’s what we’re going to find out,” he said about the possible motive.
Melly’s manager Jameson Francois is named in both lawsuits for being complicit. According to Complex, who obtained a copy of the court documents filed on Oct. 30, Francois is accused of “encouraging, inciting, soliciting, and/or making possible” the shooting of Anthony Williams. It adds that he “knew or should have known about Demons’ and/or Henry’s plan to murder” the defendant.
Meanwhile, YNW Melly’s legal team is trying to prevent the dissemination of an incriminating video, which prosecutors claim is a confession. When the video evidence was first uncovered in a court hearing in August 2019, Broward County Assistant State Attorney Kristine Bradley called it “a video of Mr. Demons admitting to shooting two individuals in the head.” In the video, Melly is heard saying, “There’s no regret for the sh*t that I did for that n***a to die” before mimicking a gun with a pen, throwing up gang signs, and adding, “Both of them never say when.”
Phillips has tried to get a copy of the footage, but attorneys for Bortlen and Melly filed a motion to thwart that. They argued that releasing the video would cause “pretrial prejudice” and obstruct their clients’ right to a fair trial. “It seems to me that it’s both a prevention of public records from being public, and a gag order back door,” said Phillips in response. The lawyers also cited in court documents that Phillips had tweeted about the case before, which he called “hypocritical,” of them seeing as their own clients as well as others have been quite vocal online about the ongoing case.
“[They’re] going on social media every day and saying, ‘Mr. Demons and Mr. Henry are innocent, and they’re going to get out any day, and this is all frivolous,’ and all of that,” said Phillips. “My client isn’t going to be sidestepped for them to be able to speak. It’s not fair.” He also pointed out that he was being harassed online by Melly fans, who he says there is something “so angry and venomous” about. “The death threats, the urinating on my mother’s grave comments, they’re hurtful,” Phillips said.
YNW Melly and his co-defendant YNW Bortlen each pleaded not guilty to the double murder in March 2019. They are both currently serving time without bail while they await the continuation of their trial. If they are found guilty, the families of the victims could be awarded millions in reparations. However, the defendants could face the death penalty if convicted.