In the latest development of the YNW Melly double murder case, Miramar Police Detective Mark Moretti provided crucial testimony, addressing allegations of misconduct in his handling of evidence. Moretti, the lead detective in the case involving Florida rapper Jamell “YNW Melly” Demons, denied accusations of impropriety during his court appearance on Monday.
Moretti was accused of soliciting a Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) deputy to falsify testimony regarding the seizure of a phone belonging to Jamie King, Melly’s mother. This phone was confiscated in Fort Lauderdale, a point of contention for the defense, who argue it falls outside of Moretti’s jurisdiction. The defense has repeatedly cited this to challenge the admissibility of key evidence.
The incident in question occurred in October 2022 at the Broward courthouse. Moretti, while taking a statement from King in the presence of Prosecutor Michelle Boutros, King’s attorney Robert Trachman, and BSO Sgt. Jason Hendrick, executed a search warrant for King’s phone. Following Hendrick’s departure, BSO Deputy Adam Gorel arrived, and Moretti allegedly suggested that Gorel affirm he was present during the search.
The narrative of what transpired diverges among the involved parties. A filing by former prosecutor Kristine Bradley, who was removed from the retrial last month, indicated that Moretti inquired about Gorel’s presence during the seizure, to which Gorel reportedly responded, “I can be if you needed me to be.” This has led to allegations of a Brady violation against Bradley for not disclosing information favorable to the defense, a serious accusation under Florida law.
In his testimony, Moretti stated he could not precisely recall his conversation with Gorel but noted that the deputy humorously offered to be “anywhere you want me to be.” Moretti also defended his actions regarding King’s phone, emphasizing his right to secure evidence against potential destruction.
Public Corruptions Unit Prosecutor Michelle Boutros, who testified about potential witness tampering by King, presented evidence including emails and incident reports involving Moretti. She denied any personal vendetta against the detective, despite questioning her ability to work with him based on his alleged comments.
Boutros’s testimony also covered the procedures followed in the seizure of phones belonging to King and Mariah Hamilton, Melly’s ex-girlfriend. Moretti claimed that Hamilton’s phone, left at another residence, was abandoned property, a claim Boutros did not endorse.
The case, which has garnered significant attention, stems from the 2018 shooting deaths of rappers Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams after a recording session in Broward County. Cortlen “YNW Bortlen” Henry, who arrived at a Miramar hospital with the deceased victims in a bullet-riddled Jeep, reported a drive-by shooting.
Moretti acknowledged in court that not all requested data was obtained from one of the seized phones. His testimony and that of Boutros are pivotal in the ongoing legal battle, where the defense seeks to have the case dismissed over alleged procedural irregularities, while the prosecution aims to continue with jury selection.
YNW Melly, who faces a retrial, and Henry, awaiting his trial, are at the center of these proceedings. The defense has accused the prosecution of misconduct, including a claim that Melly, purportedly a Bloods gang member, solicited a fellow inmate to prevent a key witness from testifying.