The YNW Melly double-murder trial resumed Monday after a week’s hiatus with a YNW employee shedding light on what happened at the studio the night of the murders.
Treveon Glass, who made beats for victim Anthony Williams, said the group booked the studio for a 12-hour recording session but didn’t stay the whole time because they fell asleep. Glass’s testimony was the first time a witness described an encounter with Melly or any of the victims that night.
Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, is accused of shooting his childhood friends Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr., in an alleged drive-by cover-up after spending the night of October 26, 2018 at a Fort Lauderdale recording studio . Williams and Thomas, both aspiring rappers with the YNW collective, were known as YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy respectively.
The 24-year-old’s case is one of the first under consideration after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill lowering the death sentence threshold to an 8-to-4 vote.
READ MORE: Calculated cover-up or failed investigation? The jury will decide in the YNW Melly murder case
Glass, who was brought to the stand over defense objections for actively monitoring the trial, said Williams was angry that everyone was asleep during the session and tried to wake them up. But he saw nothing that looked like murder.
Prosecutor Camille Smith asked Glass to identify the people caught on tape as they entered the recording studio that night in the Jeep Compass—and in the red Mitsubishi. Glass was also shown photos from the studio and, when asked, mentioned Williams, Thomas, Melly and Henry.
At one point, Smith flashed a picture of Melly and Louisiana rapper Fredo Bang on the screen. Glass also identified them.
Fredo, who allegedly picked Melly up from the crime scene, has been someone prosecutors tried to get on the witness stand. On June 29, he released the song “Free Melly” which speaks of the years of trying to subpoena him.
After leaving the recording studio, Glass and his friends went to Melly’s house. They later went to Fredo’s house, where they mourned the deaths of Thomas and Williams. That’s right, Glass said, he noticed that Melly had changed from the clothes he had been wearing hours before.
Though asked what had happened at Fredo’s house, Glass remained tight-lipped.
“I’m not sure what nobody did,” he said. “I was grieving.”
Glass also said he went to Gifford, Melly’s hometown, days after the murder. There he was pressured over the deaths of Thomas and Williams and had a Facebook conversation with Melly, which was shown in court on Monday.
“I have shown them n***** more love to their parents,” Melly said in a message. “Mane tell ’em damn if Dey thinks I did something like that we can go to war n**** you know I’d never do nun like that.”
Throughout his testimony, Glass was uncooperative with both the state and the defense, frequently shaking his head and mocking. He told attorney David Howard that he was only on the stand to avoid being jailed.
Glass is not the first uncooperative witness in the case. Felicia Holmes, the mother of Melly’s ex-girlfriend, was declared a ‘hostile witness’. The back-and-forth between Holmes and the state ended with a motion for a mistrial after she told attorney Stuart Adelstein that she felt threatened by prosecutor Kristine Bradley.
Chief Detective finally testifies
Miramar Police Detective Mark Moretti, whose name has been circulating since the trial began, spoke Monday about interviewing Henry after he showed Miramar to Memorial Hospital Miramar in October 2018 with the bodies of Williams and Thomas. That recording was during their first week of hearing the case.
“He was [then] the victim of a crime,” Moretti said of his first meeting with Henry.
Moretti said police searched the scene where Henry claimed the drive-by took place, but no evidence turned up. They then went to the recording studio and watched surveillance video, which showed Henry, Thomas, Williams and Melly jumping into the jeep, with Melly in the rear left passenger seat.
The detective told Bradley that he had “investigated” someone with whom the group allegedly had a fight. During opening statements, Howard claimed that Moretti saw Melly on tape, discovered he was a rising star, and developed tunnel vision. Howard also claimed that other leads had not been properly vetted or investigated.
“These are all unanswered questions,” Howard said on the first day of the trial. “No research. Case closed. Let’s move on.”
After speaking with the victims’ families, Moretti filed a search warrant for access to Melly’s Snapchat accounts. Pages of posts on the social media platform were dissected on Monday.
“It’s Melly shawty,” read one message, revealing it to be the rapper’s account.
Others, written during an argument with his ex-girlfriend, said, “I hold Bortlen wit kuz at the end of the day he did some of the realistic shit in my life.”
“Dis n**** saved my life, he comes everywhere with me, because if those crackers come and grab him, it’s my fault, did you forget???”
Prosecutors also showed several videos from businesses near the passing Jeep and asked Moretti to explain some of the phone pings.
Adelstein objected to Moretti’s testimony on the grounds that FBI Special Agent Brendan Collins testified in late June that cell phone records could not conclusively point to a phone’s location and that some of the science is not reliable.
“The FBI agent testified to that,” he said. “The environment is absolutely unreliable. He doesn’t even know how it works, and they never use it in any jurisdiction…”
However, Murphy allowed Moretti to dig further into the data. The detective later showed two videos of the drive from the recording studio to the crime scene. One was taken from a car at night and another from a helicopter during the day.
Moretti’s testimony continues at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The defense will have the opportunity to explain its case from Wednesday or Thursday.