Jay Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, was fatally shot at a recording studio in Queens, New York, in 2002, leading to the group’s disbandment. He was 37 years old, and his case has remained unsolved for nearly two decades until this week.
On Monday (Aug. 17), a federal grand jury announced that Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan Jr., 36, have been indicted on charges of murder while engaging in drug trafficking. According to a report from New York Daily News, the investigation hinged on the testimony of one unidentified key witness from 2015 that implicates at least one of the two men charged. The federal authorities were reportedly able to corroborate the information with other witnesses, leading to the arrests.
Federal authorities alleged that Washington, who has long been a suspect, and Jordan conspired to murder Jam Master Jay, the latter who fatally shot the DJ.
Washington was arraigned in the Mizell murder case Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 18), where he pled not guilty, according to a separate report in the New York Post. The 56-year-old is currently doing a prison bid for other robbery cases and is not expected to be released until June 2022.
However, on July 7, he reportedly filed a request for his sentence to be reduced or for a judge to release him into immediate home confinement. A federal judge granted his request before the August 21 deadline. At the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Artie McConnell urged a judge to order Washington be held in custody amid the new charges brought against him.
Even though he is not suspected of pulling the trigger, federal prosecutors argue that he was “equally responsible” for the killing of Jam Master Jay, according to the New York Daily News.
After the news broke of the arrests the late hip-hop pioneer’s family and his fellow Run-DMC member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels issued statements. They expressed their relief that his case might soon be resolved, with the Mizell family writing, “upon hearing this news, we have mixed emotions. We truly hope these indictments are a solid step towards justice being served in the murder of Jay.”
(Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)