Two men were charged for the murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay 18 years after the DJ was killed in his studio in Queens, New York. On August 17, The New York Times reported that Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington had been suspects in the case for a while.
On August 17, Jordan, 36, pleaded not guilty in a court appearance, while Washington, 56, is in federal custody and will be arraigned at a later date. If convicted, both men face minimum sentences of 20 years in prison.
The acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, Seth D. DuCharme, revealed that authorities had faced serious challenges while looking for Jay’s killer since 2002. However, he credited Queens detectives and the F.B.I. for their persistence in solving the case. “This is a case about murder that for nearly two decades has gone unanswered,” he said. “Today, we begin to answer that question of who killed Jason Mizell and why.”
According to court papers, the two men conspired to kill Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, after a cocaine deal went wrong. The indictment stated that on October 30, the two men entered Jay’s recording studio with firearms and fatally shot him in the head. They also shot another man in the leg.
“They walked in and murdered him in cold blood,” DuCharme said.
In July 2002, Jay got 10 kilograms of cocaine, which was supposed to be distributed by Washington, Jordan and others, the indictment stated. However, after a dispute, Jay threatened to cut them out of the deal. “There was beef — it didn’t go as planned,” one official said.
Run-DMC bandmate Darryl McDaniels reacted to the long-awaited arrest in a statement saying: “Although this latest news opens up a lot of painful memories for all of us who knew and loved Jam Master Jay, I’m relieved to hear that TWO suspects have been arrested and charged with his murder.”
Trini Washington, who managed Jay’s DJ gigs while he was on tour, got emotional after he heard about the charges. “It’s been 18 years, and it’s the end of a chapter in this situation,” he said. “We can all move forward.”
Jam Master Jay spent much of his childhood years in Queens. He gained fame as the DJ for the trailblazing group Run-DMC, which included Joseph Simmons, known as Run, and Darryl McDaniels, known as DMC.