Trial Begins Over 2002 Murder of Run-DMC Legend Jam Master Jay


After nearly two decades of being clouded in mystery, the trial of the 2002 murder of Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, the iconic DJ of legendary hip hop group Run-DMC, is set to commence in a New York federal district court. The trial, involving defendants Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., marks a significant step towards justice in a case that has long haunted the hip hop music community.

Jam Master Jay’s untimely demise on October 30, 2002, sent shockwaves through the music industry. At just 37 years old, the influential DJ and father of three was fatally shot in his studio in Queens, New York. His murder remained unsolved for years until federal prosecutors announced indictments against Washington and Jordan in August 2022.

Ronald Washington, now 59, and Karl Jordan Jr., the alleged shooter who is currently 40 years old, both hailed from Hollis, Queens, like Mizell. They face charges including murder in connection with narcotics trafficking and firearms-related murder. Jordan, who was 18 at the time of the alleged crime, also faces additional counts related to narcotics distribution.


Prosecutors allege that the motive behind Mizell’s murder was linked to his involvement in acquiring a significant amount of cocaine intended for distribution. Allegedly, dispute arose when Mizell excluded Washington from the deal, leading to a plot to carry out the murder. Prosecutors describe the killing as “the ambush and execution of a renowned musician… in his own studio.”

The murder of Jam Master Jay shook the rap community, particularly given the legendary status of Run-DMC. Alongside Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl McDaniels, Mizell was instrumental in pioneering new-school hip hop and golden era hip hop, characterized by its blend of rock elements, sociopolitical commentary, and street culture aesthetic.

Run-DMC’s influence transcended music, shaping fashion and commercial endorsements. Their hit single “My Adidas” led to a groundbreaking endorsement deal with the athletic brand, while their collaboration with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” revolutionized rap-rock fusion.

The trial represents a pivotal moment in the quest for justice for Jam Master Jay. Despite years of dormancy in the case, recent developments have brought it back to the forefront. Prosecutors have filed a superseding indictment against a third defendant, Jay Bryant, who will face a separate trial.


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