Two Charged in The Killing of Jam Master Jay

The two men had long been suspects in the 2002 killing of the legendary DJ, a part of hip-hop pioneering group Run-DMC.
It's been almost 20 years, but at long last the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York has said two men have been charged in the 2002 killing of Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC.

A grand jury returned an indictment charging two defendants, Karl Jordan, Jr. and Ronald Washington, for their involvement in the murder of Jason Mizell. The men were charged with murder while engaged in drug trafficking in a 10-count indictment unsealed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Jordan pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday afternoon. Washington was expected to be arraigned later in the week. Both face minimum sentences of 20 years in prison if convicted.

According to court papers filed on Monday, Washington and Jordan, both armed, broke into Mr. Mizell's studio on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, at about 7:30 p.m on Oct. 30, 2002. As Washington forced someone inside the studio to the ground at gunpoint, the papers say, Jordan fired a bullet into Mr. Mizell's head, killing him almost instantly.

Prosecutors said that the two men had "executed" Mr. Mizell after he sought to exclude them from "a multi-kilogram, multistate narcotics transaction." In July 2002, just months before the murder, court papers say, Mr. Mizell had received about 10 kilos of cocaine "on consignment" from a supplier in Maryland. Mr. Washington and Mr. Jordan were supposed to have been his partners in the deal, the papers say, but after a dispute — which was not described — Mr. Mizell threatened to cut them out.

"There was a beef — it didn't go as planned," one official said.

Washington, 56, is currently serving a federal prison sentence for six robberies. Jordan, 36, was taken into custody on Sunday. Federal prosecutors first accused Washington of taking part in the murder in 2007 when he was convicted in the robbery case and sentenced to 210 months in prison, said Susan Kellman, his lawyer at the time. Mr. Jordan had previously been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Mr. Mizell's nephew in 2003, but the case was dismissed when the nephew failed to cooperate with the authorities.

Investigators who reviewed Mr. Mizell's business and personal relationships struggled with finding a motive and wondered why someone might want to kill a man who had not embraced prominent rivalries with others in the industry. The case went cold a few years later.

After the case reopened in 2016, Mr. Mizell's older brother, Marvin Thompson, said in an interview that his brother felt he had nothing to show for all the work he had put into his career, and he wanted to cut ties with those around him.

Mr. Thompson died in 2018, as did Mr. Mizell's sister, followed by his mother in 2019. Mr. Mizell's survivors include his widow and three sons.


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