The murder of Run-DMC’s DJ Jam Master Jay has remained a mystery for nearly two decades.
But now, after almost 18 years, two men are finally in custody for the crime.
On October 30th, 2002, Jason Mizell — better known as Jam Master Jay — was shot and killed. He was playing video games in his recording studio in Queens, NYC. It has long remained a mystery.
The hip-hop DJ for the groundbreaking group Run-DMC was only 37 years old at the time of his death.
Now, federal prosecutors are indicting two men, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., for the crime.
Authorities suspected Washington and Jordan for a long time, but the feds finally feel like they have enough to prosecute them on charges of murder.
They announced the charging of Washington and Jordan during a press conference Monday. According to the indictments, Jam Master Jay’s murder was in retaliation for him cutting Washington out of a drug deal.
Allegedly, Jay was trafficking illegal substances between 1996 and 2002, at the time of his death. Both Washington and Jordan were in on the distribution, but they cut Washington out of the operation after he got into an argument with another co-conspirator.
Washington is already behind bars, serving a federal sentence of 17.5 years for robbery. They convicted him in 2007, and the judge scheduled his release for 2021.
Jordan was taken into custody Sunday.
Both men are charged with murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and firearm-related murder for the fatal shooting. Jordan also faces one count of conspiracy, and seven counts of cocaine distribution stemming from 2017.
If convicted, both men are facing anywhere from 20 years to life in prison — or possibly even the death penalty.
Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, formed the pioneering hip-hop trio Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. Jay was responsible for the beats behind the group. Simmons is, of course, the brother of Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons.
Jay also founded his own record label — JMJ Records — known for discovering artists such as 50 Cent and Onyx.
For nearly two decades, detectives have struggled to establish a motive for Jay’s murder.
At a press conference, Seth DuCharme, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, didn’t go into details about what led to the charges.
“Today we begin to answer that question, who killed Jason Mizell and why,” DuCharme said.