YNW Melly Is Charged With the Murder of Two Friends. What Happened?
The same day, Melly shares a photo of himself with Kanye West on Instagram. Rumors follow that the two are recording in Miami together for what might be West’s long-delayed album Yandhi. The album never materialized and West instead released Jesus Is King in 2019; the record did not feature YNW Melly.
December 12, 2019
A Genius video of Melly breaking down the lyrics to “Murder on My Mind” is posted on YouTube. “I’m a pussy murderer,” he says around the 4:40 mark. “I murder the vagina. And I murder the beat. I am not no hu—human murderer.” As he pauses on the phrase “human murderer,” Melly’s eye catches the camera, in a moment that will later go viral.
January 3, 2019
Melly is arrested again in Lee County in connection with his June 2018 charges. In his mugshot, he can be seen smiling. According to court records viewed by Pitchfork, Melly pleaded no contest to misdemeanors for possession of paraphernalia and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. He is ruled guilty and sentenced to jail time, with credit for time served.
January 18, 2019
January 25, 2019
Melly is released from Lee County jail, police records show.
February 5, 2019
In a Billboard interview, Melly says of YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy, “They were my brothers—they were my day one brothers.” Asked if he was targeted in the incident as well, he says, “Nah, I can’t really speak on that.” He also says he has recorded “like six songs” with Young Thug and is working on a “project” with Juice WRLD. His project with Tee Grizzley is finished, too, he says: “My year’s finna be crazy.”
February 12, 2019
Melly talks Kanye West with Power 106. “He heard my music in Paris,” Melly says. “He flew me to L.A. and then I just showed him some of my music.” Melly says West is naming a Yeezy sneaker after him, too: the Mellys.
February 13, 2019
Melly is arrested on murder charges. Police allege that he shot and killed Williams and Thomas while Cortlen Henry, aka YNW Bortlen, tried to stage the deaths as a drive-by shooting. Under Florida law, Melly could face life imprisonment or the death penalty. He maintains his innocence on Instagram: “Unfortunately, a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me.” (The post is eventually deleted.)
February 25, 2019
In public court documents, investigators reveal more details about the charges against Melly. Police officers cite phone records which allegedly confirm that Melly was at the scene of the crime. They also reference autopsy reports and crime scene details, which allegedly confirm that Melly shot YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy from inside the car. Police argue that the “drive-by” bullet holes on the outside of the car were “staged in an effort to misdirect law enforcement investigation.”
March 6, 2019
Melly pleads not guilty.
April 18, 2019
Florida prosecutors file paperwork signaling their intent to seek the death penalty against YNW Melly.
August 6, 2019
November 22, 2019
April 2, 2020
May 23, 2020
YNW Bortlen, who was arrested for double murder along with Melly in 2019, is granted house arrest.
August 20, 2020
YNW Bortlen releases the new single and music video “Been Thru.” It’s his first piece of new music after being granted his restricted release and just his second-ever solo track, following 2018’s “Came From.” The single and visual refer to his incarceration, and Bortlen also raps, “Free Lil Melly.”
October 23, 2020
The estates of the rappers that Melly and Bortlen were arrested for murdering, Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr., file a wrongful death suit against them. According to the complaint filed on behalf of YNW Sakchaser’s estate, the shooting followed “tension” among the group of friends over “the prospect of large amounts of money coming in” and “how that money should be distributed.” The lawyers for Sakchaser’s estate write, “When there are less people splitting up the prospective money, the people on the receiving end will get more.”
April 14, 2021
Bortlen is arrested again for allegedly violating the terms of his house arrest by visiting strip clubs, according to court records.
August 13, 2021
Melly releases another album, Just a Matter of Slime, which features Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Future, Kodak Black, Tee Grizzley, and more. It debuts at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 on August 28, 2021, spending three weeks on the chart.