On Thursday, the Florida rapper’s attorney Lead Attorney David A. Howard moved for a mistrial claiming that the jury was tainted because of the picture painted by the jury involving testimony from Melly’s ex-girlfriend’s mother, Felicia Holmes.
During her testimony, prosecutor Kristine Bradley’s questions to Holmes revealed that she did not want to be in court, and she was subpoenaed to be a witness on Thursday. The witness acknowledged giving a deposition to prosecutors on December 14, 2022, but not one on December 12, 2018.
On the night of the killing, Holmes was questioned about her location, which she revealed to be the home of rapper Fredo Bang and she was asked about the money she received from Melly, real name Jamell Maurice Demons, which she said was “none”.
Prosecutor Bradley, however, raised Holmes’s credit union account leading to her quickly revealing that she has never received money from him for “personal use,” but she received $5,000 from the rapper to pay for an Airbnb.
She was also asked about a list of phone numbers, including her daughters, but all of the attorneys were called to approach the judge’s bench because of the line of questioning, which was objected to by the defense and sustained by the judge.
The prosecutor asked the judge for permission to treat the witness as hostile, leading to the defense objecting and the judge calling a sidebar where all of the lawyers convened.
YNW Melly’s lawyer objected to the prosecutor asking the witness if she needed to speak to her lawyer during her testimony, noting that it was a “tactic of intimidation and coercion” and that the defense objected to it.
The witness was also asked if she needed to speak to her lawyer, which she affirmed.
The witness also left the courtroom, and Judge Murphy III seemed to agree with the judge that the witness was hostile, but he also chided the lawyer for asking leading questions and badgering the witness when she said she said she couldn’t recall.
Prosecutor Bradley also explained to the judge that it was important that the witness answer the questions because, in her previous statement, she had said she had a Facetime call with YNW Melly and had referred to his location as “the crime scene.”
Howard, however, said the state was “conflating issues” and referred to the examination in chief of Holmes as a “debacle,” which is evident that it appears that the witness is not a fan of the state.
“The state knew that going in. This is no surprise. These cases use the very language ‘surprise’. In other words, what the state intends to do under ruse….is put on the witness to impeach that witness for the sole purpose of impeaching that witness to introduce an out-of-court statement that is inadmissible because the state understood that she recanted. The state under the pretext – we don’t know that she is hostile, we just think that her recollection is failing,” he said.
Howard says the state is calling the witness a liar and essentially introducing a report by police to be entered into evidence.
The effect of the judge allowing the state to regard the witness as hostile would mean that rather than asking and getting answers from the witness, the prosecutor can read the 2018 statements and tell the witness what she said for the benefit of the jury.
However, Bradley brought up part of the witness’s Instagram where she expressed anger that she was promised monies not to speak to the prosecution, but Melly’s manager and wife failed to provide money.
“The promises that were made to us by YNW for me to quit my job & they would take care of us were all lies. They didn’t want us talking with prosecutors but now they have all disappeared. I quit my job based on what Track & his wife or company said now look. We can’t go home. We spending all my money I worked for & they taking trips & enjoying life. If you think I was a beast before. Wait until this trial. I’m not holding anything back. I’m doing what I should have done in the beginning. They can call me Mz. Snitch B*tch.”
The prosecutor also hit back that she was seeking to exercise an impeachment as she shared other parts of the witness statement from 2018, which she said proves that she might have received benefits from Melly or agents acting on behalf of Melly.
Judge Murphy III agreed that the evidence could be admissible, but the witness had to vouch for the accuracy and correctness of the statement she previously made. He added that he would take the move for mistrial under advisement and will discuss it on Tuesday, June 20.
YNW Melly is facing two counts of first-degree murder charges in the death of his friends, Anthony Williams, aka YNW Sakchaser, and Christopher Thomas, aka YNW Juvy.
Melly along with Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen, are accused of killing their friends by shooting them to death in a grey SUV in the Everglades and staging their deaths as a drive-by shooting.