Two Men Charged In 2002 Killing Of Jam Master Jay
According to court documents, the two suspects collaborated with others to plan the murder of Jason Mizell.
August 18, 2020 at 2:11 am
For almost two decades, the killing of celebrated hip-hop disc jockey Jam Master Jay has remained one of the country’s most notorious unsolved slayings.
On Monday, federal prosecutors announced indictments on two suspects long believed to be involved in the 2002 killing of the former member of the 1980s rap group Run-DMC, The New York Times reports. New York City officials charged Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan, Jr., 36, with murder while drug trafficking and nine other counts.
Court filings say the two men may have worked with people close to the rapper to plan the murder of Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay. According to The Times, U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said Mizell’s killers walked up and killed him in “cold blood.”
“This is a case about a 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.”
In new court documents detailing Mizell’s death, prosecutors said Washington and Jordan killed Mizell on October 30, 2002, after he tried to exclude them from a major drug deal. According to the documents, Mizell received nearly 10 kilos of cocaine on loan from a supplier in Maryland that July. Following a dispute, Mizell threatened to cut both Jordan and Washington as partners in the deal, according to The Times. The two men broke into Mizell’s studio that day, forced a person inside on the ground and shot Mizell in the head, akin to an execution-style slaying.
Washington was an associate of Mizell’s who had been living on a couch at the slain DJ’s home days prior to the death, according to CBS New York. In 2007, Washington was first named a possible suspect after prosecutors alleged he waved a handgun around and ordered people in Mizell’s recording studio on the ground. With the guests contained, a separate man wearing a mask shot and killed Mizell, police said.
An anonymous law enforcement official said two witnesses were now cooperating in the case, per The Times. Following Mizell’s death, the city and his family offered $60,000 in reward money, but witnesses refused to come to the light, and the case stalled. Marvin Thompson, Mizell’s older brother, believed that people close to his sibling were responsible for his death. Prior to his death in 2018, Thompson told New York Daily News he was still seeking answers and hoped someone did the right thing.
"There's still so many unanswered questions. I pray that someone will step up and close this case and give us some peace," Thompson said in 2012, 10 years after Mizell’s killing.
If convicted, Washington and Jordan would each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. They could also face the death penalty, but The Associated Press reports Attorney General William Barr has yet to decide whether to seek capital punishment.
Jordan pleaded not guilty Monday, and Washington — who is currently serving a federal prison sentence for a string of robberies — has a hearing scheduled for later this week in Kentucky, according to The AP.