YNW Melly is facing new charges in relation to new witness tampering allegations earlier this month. The rapper is currently awaiting his retrial, set to begin at the end of this month.
In new filings by the State of Florida on Thursday, Melly was named along with his double murder co-defendant Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen, and another man, Terrence Mathis, for tampering with a witness in the ongoing retrial of Melly.
Among the charges the three are facing are tampering with a witness in a capital felony, directing the activities of a criminal gang, solicitation to commit tampering, conspiracy to commit tampering, and two counts of unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
The motion reads that Melly, Henry, and Mathis tampered with a witness to wit, they “unlawfully and knowingly engaged in misleading conduct and/or offer pecuniary benefit and/or gain, with the intent to cause or induce [the witness] to withhold testimony from an official proceeding and/or evade legal the legal process summoning her to appear as a witness in an official proceeding and/or be absent from an official proceeding to which she has been summoned.”
The alleged witness tampering occurred during Melly’s trial. The charges about gang activities allege that all three defendants’ alleged witness tampering was committed for the benefit, promotion, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang.
The offenses were reportedly committed on or about April 10, 2023, to around July 22, 2023.
The dates seemingly coincide with the time jury selection began in Melly’s first trial to around the time of the mistrial.
The latest charges come just a week after the prosecution revealed messages sent to Felicia Holmes, the mother of Melly’s ex-girlfriend Mariah Hamilton. The message was sent by Henry, who was out on bail to Holmes via Instagram, in which he threatened to harm her daughter.
Holmes was a hostile witness during Melly’s trial, going back on or claiming to forget her statements given to police where she spoke about Melly on the night of the murders of YNW Juvy and Sakchaser.
During the cross-examination of Holmes, the prosecution was able to establish that Holmes may have gotten financial benefits from Melly, which caused her to recant her statement.
However, the prosecution had suffered blows as Holmes also claimed that the lead detective coerced her and put her in duress as he threatened to lock her up if she did not testify.
As for Mariah, she was not a part of the trial, although she later popped up weeks later claiming that she was on the run from authorities since she didn’t want to testify or give a statement.
It’s unclear if Hamilton will be a witness in this trial. The contents of the messages sent by Henry to her mother threatened Hamilton’s life. In response, Holmes revealed that Melly spoke to her daughter about the murders and claimed that he was a “snake” who would also end up killing Henry since he had killed his two friends.
In the meantime, jury selection for YNW Melly’s double homicide retrial began on Thursday.
In this new trial, several changes were instituted, including the removal of prosecutor Kristine Bradley, who was accused by the defense of being complicit in suppressing exculpatory evidence (Brady Material) from the defense.
Last week, in an unprecedented move, Judge John Murphy approved Assistant State Attorney Alixandra Buckelew to replace Bradley. Although he did not rule on motions by the defense to throw out the case altogether, the move is rarely taken by a judge.