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YNW Melly associate waits for verdict in his own murder trial

Accused killer Terrence Mathis is waiting for a Broward jury to decide whether he is guilty of killing a liquor store manager in Lighthouse Point nearly seven years ago.

Mathis, 40, is also accused in a separate case of helping rapper Jamell “YNW Melly” Demons tamper with witnesses in the rapper’s highly publicized murder case, which is expected to be retried this year after a previous jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

The murder of Karl Wolfer on July 7, 2017, was the first in Lighthouse Point in over a decade. Investigators said Mathis first encountered Wolfer at the liquor store operated by the victim, then followed him home and shot him in his own driveway in a robbery.

Prosecutors Liz Lipella and Taylor Collins pointed to evidence showing that Mathis’ phone placed him at the liquor store and the scene of the crime, while defense lawyer George Reres argued that Mathis was not with his phone, suggesting the crime may have been committed by Mathis’ brother.

Jurors deliberated for a few hours Monday before retiring for the day. Deliberations will resume Tuesday morning.

Mathis was charged last year with witness tampering on behalf of Demons, the rapper accused of killing two longtime friends after a late-night recording session in Fort Lauderdale.

Prosecutors say Demons relayed messages to co-defendant Cortlen “YNW Bortlen” Henry during Demons’ trial last year, with Mathis acting as a go-between. Henry was told to talk Demons’ girlfriend out of giving a sworn statement out of court or testifying in court.

Investigators believe that Mathis and Demons are fellow members of an offshoot of the Bloods street gang, an accusation that played a significant role in Demons’ first trial, which ended with a hung jury in July 2023.

Demons faces the death penalty if convicted of the murders of his friends and fellow rappers Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams.

Defense lawyers for Demons say the witness-tampering charges were filed to distract from controversies surrounding the prosecution of his case. Reres, who also represents Mathis on the tampering charges, declined to comment on them Monday.

Rafael Olmeda can be reached at moc.lenitnesnus@ademlor or 954-356-4457.

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