Rapper YNW Melly, Who Recently Collaborated with Kanye West, Charged with Murders of 2 Friends

Rapper YNW Melly recently released his track "Mixed Personalities" featuring Kanye West

Photo: Lyrical Lemonade/Youtube

Florida rapper YNW Melly, né Jamell Demons, has been arrested after allegedly fatally shooting two of his close friends in October.

Melly, 19, who recently collaborated with Kanye West on the track “Mixed Personalities” and is best known for his song “Murder on My Mind” allegedly shot aspiring rappers Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, on Oct. 26. (West was not related in any way to the incident.)

Following the incident, 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 said in a statement shared on Twitter Wednesday.

The victims were then allegedly driven to Memorial Hospital Miramar by Henry, 26, in a Jeep Compass at around 4:35 p.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 on a documentary about Melly posted on Melly’s YouTube page.

It is not immediately clear as to what sparked the alleged altercation.

Miramar Police Department
YNW Melly and Kanye West. YNW Melly/Instagram

At the hospital, Bortlen gave a statement to police that contradicted the evidence present at the scene of the crime, Miramar police told the Sun Sentinel.

Bortlen was arrested in Houston last month and extradited to Broward and booked Tuesday, the outlet reported.

Henry appeared in court Wednesday, but no bond has been set as attorneys on both sides have asked for time to get more familiar with the case, the Sun-Sentinel reported.


A lawyer for Henry could not immediately be found.

On Wednesday, revealed on Instagram that he would be turning himself in.

“To all my fans and supporters… I am turning my self in today,” Melly wrote.

“I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all, a couple months ago I lost two brothers by violence and now the system want[s] to find justice… unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother @ynw.bortlen and we want y’all to remember it’s a ynw family.”

Melly concluded the post by saying “I love you” to Williams and Thomas.

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.”

YNW Melly/Instagram

Cohen did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment following Melly’s arrest.

Melly and Henry have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, police said.

Prior to his arrest, Melly released his debut album We All Shine in January and was expected to embark on a tour in support of the project this month.

On Jan. 3, Melly was arrested on two misdemeanor drug charges, the Miami Herald reported.

According to jail records, Melly was charged with one count of possession of marijuana and one count of possession of drug equipment and booked the Lee County Jail in Florida, the Miami Herald reported.

Last summer, Melly was arrested on similar marijuana possession charges, the Miami Herald reported.

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