Opening Statements Begin In Trial of Men Accused of Killing Jam Master Jay

The DJ of the legendary rap group RUN-DMC, Jason Mizell was killed in 2002 but the trial of his alleged assailants is starting two decades later.

Opening statements began on Monday (Jan.29) in the federal murder trial for two men accused of killing Jam Master Jay of RUN-DMC more than 20 years ago, CBS News reports.

Ronald Washington, 59, and Karl Jordan Jr., who were charged for their alleged involvement in the shooting that killed Jay whose given name is Jason Mizell in 2002, both pleaded not guilty in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn.

The Guardian that Jordan also pleaded not guilty to gun and cocaine charges. Prosecutors claim that they have surveillance video of Jordan selling cocaine to an undercover agent and that he further “participated in drug trafficking.”

Jay Bryant, another suspect charged in connection with Mizell’s killing will stand trial in a separate case later this year.

L. Train, a longtime friend of the groundbreaking DJ who was present during the first day of the trial, is hoping that justice will be served on behalf of Mizell after years of waiting.

"We definitely want justice. Justice is definitely due.” L. Train told reporters. “And that's why I'm here today.”

During opening statements, the federal prosecution team described the murder as "a brazen crime” saying that Washington, a childhood friend of Mizell and Jordan, the DJ's godson, ran into the studio on October 30th, 2002, and fatally shot Mizell at close range in the head. According to prosecutors Washington and Jordan sought revenge on Mizell after he allegedly cut them out of a cocaine deal.

The New York Times that Mizell had been allegedly trafficking cocaine and was said to have purchased 10 kilograms from a distributor in the Midwest “on consignment” for Washington and Jordan to distribute. After they were excluded from the deal, Washington and Jordan hatched a plan to murder Mizell, according to court documents.

Jam Master Jay Murder Case: Jury Selection Begins For Two Men Facing Charges In Death of Legendary Run-DMC DJ

Although the case was cold for more than two decades, prosecutors claim that prospects of the case began to change in the last five years following more ballistics tests were conducted and witnesses finally came forward with information, per court documents.

Since his death, Mizell’s family has vehemently denied that he was involved in dealing drugs.

Hailed as one of the most iconic rap acts of all time,  RUN-DMC, comprised of Mizell, Joseph “Rev.Run” Simmons, and Darryl “DMC”  McDaniels, are credited with taking rap music to the mainstream. Their iconic songs include “Sucker MCs” "It's Like That", "Hard Times", "Rock Box", "Walk This Way”, “It’s Tricky”. “Down With the King”, and many more.

Among the group’s many accolades, RUN-DMC became the first rap act with gold and platinum albums, to be featured on a Rolling Stone cover, and to have a video aired on MTV. In 2009, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If convicted, Washington and Jordan could face at least 20 years in prison.

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