Authorities in the state’s 17th judicial circuit filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case last week.
YNW Melly, real name Jamell Maurice Demons, was charged in February this year with allegedly killing two men – 19-year-old Christopher Thomas Jr and 21-year-old Anthony Williams – whom police have described as his lifelong friends.
Investigators have alleged that Melly, along with another man, tried to make it appear as though the men died in a drive-by shooting. Melly, who was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, has pleaded not guilty.
The notice of intent to seek the death penalty, dated 16 April, lists the State of Florida as the plaintiff and Melly as the defendant.
In the filing, prosecutors say they believe they can “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that the alleged capital felony was committed for “pecuniary gain”, that it was “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel”, and that it was committed by a gang member.
Melly’s attorney Jason Roger Williams told Billboard of the prosecution’s decision to seek the death penalty: “That was always their plan. They’ve indicated that since the beginning of this case.
“The prosecution wasn’t hiding the ball on this. They were very clear in articulating this was their plan.”
The Independent has contacted Melly’s legal team for further comment.
Additional reporting by agencies