What Happened to Jam Master Jay? All About the Run-DMC DJ’s Death, Murder Trial & More

jam master jay
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Jam Master Jay was one of the most important figures in the world of rap music. The DJ, whose real name was Jason William Mizell, rose to fame for playing the turntables in the major group Run-DMC. He also played instruments on the group’s records in the studio. When the rappers would perform live, Jay was always in the background spinning the turntables. He also had his own record label that signed major rappers, like 50 Cent. A documentary about the group Kings From Queens: The Run-DMC Story was released on Peacock on February 1, 2024.

Jay was shot and killed in October 2002. He was 37-years-old. While an investigation began immediately, there were no arrests made until 2020. His murder was also the subject of the Netflix investigative documentary ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay? As the murder trial has begun, get to know more about the DJ’s death.

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How Did Jam Master Jay Die?

Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in his studio in Jamaica, Queens on October 30, 2002. He was shot in the head while playing video games when two people burst in and fired. There were multiple other people in the studio, and another person was shot in the leg, per The New York TimesAn investigation began but the killers were not identified at the time.

Following Jay’s death members of the hip hop community paid tribute to the DJ and spoke about what a massive loss his death was.

Who Are the Suspects?

There have been three men charged with Jam Master Jay’s murder. The first two suspects were charged with plotting to kill the DJ in 2020. The two suspects are Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington. Jordan was Mizell’s godson, and Washington was a childhood friend. They planned the murder because the DJ had cut Ronald out of a drug deal, according to PeopleThe two of them were arrested, and their trial began in January 2024.

A third suspect Jay Bryant was charged as an accomplice in May 2023, per The Associated Press. Bryant was seen entering the building, and his DNA was recovered from the crime scene. He will face a separate trial from Jordan and Washington.

Ronald Washington & Karl Jordan Jr.’s Trial

Washington and Jordan’s trial in front of a federal jury began in Brooklyn on Monday, January 29, 2024. Each has pleaded not guilty.  Both of them can face a minimum sentence of 20 years if found guilty, per People. Prosecutors filed documents saying that the defendants and others close to them had attempted to intimidate witnesses ahead of the trial, according to The Times. A judge also ruled that Jordan’s rap lyrics, where he has boasted about violence and drug dealing, can’t be used against him in the trial.

Uriel Rincon, who had been shot in the leg during the murder, identified Jordan as the shooter who killed Jam Master Jay as he took the witness stand on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. He claimed that the DJ’s godson entered the studio while Jay was playing video games. “He kind of walked directly to Jay and gave — like, half a handshake, with an arm. And at the same time, that’s when I hear a couple of shots,” he said, via The Associated Press. “And then I see Jay just fall.”

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