Godson and friend convicted in murder of Run-DMC rapper Jam Master Jay

27 February 2024, 21:14

Jam Master Jay
Two convicted of Jam Master Jay murder. Picture: PA

Karl Jordan Jr and Ronald Washington were found guilty of the 2002 shooting of the rap star in his New York studio.

Two men were convicted of murder on Tuesday in the death of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay, a brazen 2002 shooting in the rap legend’s studio.

An anonymous Brooklyn federal jury delivered the verdict in the trial of Karl Jordan Jr and Ronald Washington.

Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, worked the turntables in Run-DMC as it helped hip-hop break into the pop music mainstream in the 1980s with such hits as It’s Tricky and a fresh take on Aerosmith’s Walk This Way.

Mizell later started a record label, opened a studio in his old Queens neighbourhood and helped bring along other talent, including rapper 50 Cent.

Mizell was gunned down in his studio in front of witnesses on October 30 2002.

Like the slayings of rap icons Tupac Shakur and the Notorious BIG in the late 1990s, the Mizell case remained open for years.

Authorities were deluged with tip-offs, rumours and theories but struggled to get witnesses to open up.

Jordan, 40, was the famous DJ’s godson. Washington, 59, was an old friend who was bunking at the home of the DJ’s sister. Both men were arrested in 2020 and pleaded not guilty.

“Twenty years is a long time to wait for justice,” assistant US attorney Artie McConnell had told jurors in a closing argument, urging them: “Don’t let this go on for another minute.”

The men’s names, or at least their nicknames, have been floated for decades in connection to the case.

Authorities publicly named Washington as a suspect in 2007.

He, meanwhile, told Playboy magazine in 2003 he had been outside the studio, heard the shots and saw Little D — one of Jordan’s monikers — racing out of the building.

Prosecutors contend that the two men turned on the rap star over a cocaine deal.

Mizell had been part of Run-DMC’s anti-drug message, delivered through a public service announcement and such lyrics as “we are not thugs / we don’t use drugs”.

But according to prosecutors and trial testimony, he racked up debts after the group’s heyday and moonlighted as a cocaine middleman to cover his bills and habitual generosity to friends.

“He was a man who got involved in the drug game to take care of the people who depended on him,” McConnell said in his summation.

Prosecution witnesses testified that in Mizell’s final months, he had a plan to acquire 10 kilograms of cocaine and sell it through Jordan, Washington and a Baltimore-based dealer. But the Baltimore connection refused to work with Washington, according to testimony.

According to prosecutors, Washington and Jordan went after Mizell for the sake of vengeance, greed and jealousy.

Neither Washington nor Jordan testified. Their lawyers questioned key prosecution witnesses’ credibility and their memories of the long-ago shooting, noting that some initially denied they could identify the attackers or had heard who they were.

By Press Association

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