Two accused of murdering Jam Master Jay ‘in cold blood’ in 2002
Two men are charged in relation to one of the biggest unsolved killings in rap
Run-DMC’s Jason Mizell, known as Jam Master Jay, poses at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1986. File photograph: AP Photo/G Paul Burnett
Rapper Jam Master Jay, one of the founding members of Run-DMC, was murdered in 2002 “in cold blood” as part of a dispute over a drugs deal, US prosecutors said on Monday.
Prosecutors made the claim as they announced that two men had been charged with the rapper’s murder, following attempts to solve one of the biggest unsolved killings in the world of rap.
“This is a case about a murder that for nearly two decades had gone unanswered, and so today we begin to answer that question of who killed Jason Mizell, and why,” Seth DuCharme, the acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told a news conference.
One of the accused men, Karl Jordan jnr, pleaded not guilty to murder and eight drug-related charges through his lawyer when he was arraigned on Monday. Mr DuCharme said the other man, Ronald Washington, would be arraigned later this week. If convicted they would face 20 years to life behind bars.
“They walked in and they murdered him [Mizell] in cold blood,” Mr DuCharme said.
Run-DMC, one of the best-known rap acts of the 1980s, was founded in New York City in 1981. Jam Master Jay was a founding member along with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel. Their hits included It’s Tricky and the Aerosmith cover Walk This Way.
Washington (56), who is already in prison, was previously named as a suspect in Mizell’s murder in 2007 but was not charged. Mr Jordan (36) was arrested on Sunday.
According to the indictment, Washington and Mr Jordan entered Mizell’s recording studio in Queens on the evening of October 30th, 2002. Both men were armed. Mr Jordan fired two shots at close range at Mizell, striking the rapper once in the head, the indictment said.
Investigators allege the motive for the killing was a dispute over the distribution of about 10kg of cocaine that Mizell had acquired elsewhere.
Washington and Mr Jordan had intended to distribute the cocaine, but Mizell “had recently informed Washington that the defendant would not be involved in distributing the narcotics”, which precipitated the murder, according to the court filings. – Reuters