YNW Melly’s defense team has won another victory as presiding Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy III denied a motion by the prosecution that would allow the jury to see the grey SUV that the victims were found in.
The SUV forms a critical part of the YNW Melly’s trial as the prosecution claims the way the victims were shot- at point-blank range inside of the SUV supports its case theory that the victims were murdered by Melly from within the vehicle. The SUV evidence is tied to forensics and ballistics evidence as well as data taken from a phone allegedly belonging to Melly that show the vehicle was at a particular point in South Florida where the murders were committed.
The evidence by the prosecution is seeking to counteract the claims by Melly’s co-accused, YNW Bortlen, that the two victims were killed during a drive-by shooting and that the bullets came from outside of the car.
Platinum-selling YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, 24, is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in the death of two of his friends, Chris Thomas, 20, also known as YNW Juvy, and Anthony Williams, 21, also known as YNW Sakchaser.
Melly and Cortlen’ YNW Bortlen’ Henry are accused of killing their best friends by shooting them at close range on the night of October 26, 2018, and then staging their deaths as a drive-by shooting.
On Thursday, the trial resumed after a break where Melly’s lawyer, David Howard, raised several objections in relation to evidence being introduced by the prosecution.
One of those objections had to do with the introduction of GPS evidence.
According to Howard, the law was clear that by introducing evidence like GPS and other types of similar data, there has to be a witness to “authenticate the evidence as far as its reliability is concerned.”
“The out-of-state case, with all due respect, misses the mark entirely,” Howard said.
According to him, the reliability of the evidence is a predicate to it being introduced.
Judge Murphy has not decided on that matter as he asked that the objection be reduced to writing and sent to him.
In relation to the objection to the Jeep evidence, the judge allowed the motion by the defense to exclude the evidence of the Jeep being given to the jury because it was not relevant. The judge did not go into reasons for the denial and only said he did not believe the photos could help the jury.
According to the defense, there are no crime scene photos showing the deceased in the car, which would show their position and where they sat in the car. Photos of the vehicle were taken after the victims were taken out at the hospital.
Last week, a state witness testified that YNW Melly’s DNA was not found on or in the Jeep SUV where the victims were found in 2018.
However, a re-test of the evidence in June found forensic evidence from Melly on the handle of the car in the back seat.
The witness also testified that there was no gunpowder residue (GSR) found on Melly after the murders.
No other evidence links Melly to the crime.
Prosecutors have theorized that a .40 caliber weapon was used to kill the two men based on spent shells recovered from the ‘actual’ scene of the crime- a dead end in South Florida.
However, a murder weapon was not recovered.
However, they have sought to use circumstantial evidence from a phone alleged to belong to Melly to tie the “Murder on My Mind” rapper to the scene. Specifically, the prosecution went through text messages Melly sent to his mother and to fellow rapper Fredo Bang a week or so before the shooting, where he said he wanted to acquire a firearm.
In the meantime, the defense also objected to a prosecution’s plan to bring a witness who was with Melly on the night of the murder.
The witness is one of the young men who were in a red SUV that was seen with the Grey Jeep on the night of the killing of YNW Juvy and Sakchaser.
The defense’s objection was based on the witness’s need to receive independent counsel and to know when he can exercise his fifth amendment rights.