Two men charged in Run DMC's Jam Master Jay's death 16 years after he was gunned down over 'drug deal dispute'

It is now understood that a drug deal dispute was the reason behind Jason Mizell aka Jam Master Jay's fatal shooting in 2002. Two men who allegedly shot him over the sour deal were recently indicted


                            Two men charged in Run DMC's Jam Master Jay's death 16 years after he was gunned down over 'drug deal dispute'
Run-DMC (Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY: Jason Mizell aka Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the pioneering hip-hop group Run DMC, was shot and killed over an alleged financial dispute on October 30, 2002, in a recording studio in Queens, New York. Although there were multiple witnesses present, no arrests were made at the time. The subsequent investigation dragged on for many years, even leading to a Netflix documentary called 'Remastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?', which examined the details of the unsolved cold case.

However, on Monday, August 17, federal prosecutors announced that they had now charged two men, 56-year-old Ronald Washington and 36-year-old Karl Jordan Jr, with one count of murder each and additional counts for engaging in drug trafficking and firearm-related murder. It was also revealed that Jam Master Jay was killed over a dispute related to a cocaine drug deal, with both Washington and Jordan Jr expected to be convicted and serve a minimum of 20 years in prison for their crimes. 

Members of Run DMC with Jam Master Jay seen on the left (Getty Images)

Seth D DuCharme, the Acting US Attorney in Brooklyn, New York, admitted, "This is a case about a murder that for nearly two decades has gone unanswered," and added, "Today we begin to answer that question of who killed Jason Mizell and why." It is now understood that Mizell aka Jam Master Jay had been trafficking cocaine since 1996 and had been selling it in New York and other neighboring locations, according to a letter from the Department of Justice to United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom. As part of these dealings, he had reportedly gotten 22 pounds (10 kg) of cocaine from a Midwestern narcotics distributor in July 2002 and planned to sell some of it in Maryland with the help of Washington, Jordan and other associates. However, Jay then reportedly cut Washington out of the deal, which led to the unthinkable conspiracy to commit murder.

Musicians Run DMC attend the VH1 Big In 2002 Awards at the Olympic Stadium on December 4, 2002, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

"The investigation has revealed that, prior to his murder, Mizell sought to exclude Washington from a multi-kilogram, multi-state narcotics transaction," the letter stated. "In retaliation, Washington and Jordan conspired to murder and ultimately executed Mizell." The letter also revealed, "Eyewitnesses present at the studio when the defendants murdered Mizell have identified both defendants. Moreover, Washington has made various admissions — both to law enforcement and third parties — that corroborate his involvement in both the murder and the underlying narcotics conspiracy."

Musical artist Jason 'Jam Master Jay' Mizell holds a toy figure of himself at a ceremony honoring his hip-hop group RUN-DMC's induction into the Hollywood RockWalk February 25, 2002, at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

Both Washington and Jordan were allegedly armed when they broke into Mizell's recording studio on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, at about 7.30 p.m on October 30, 2002. While Washington reportedly forced one person to the ground at gunpoint, Jordan shot Mizell two times at close range, including a fatal headshot. The second shot also hit the leg of another witness who was present in the studio, according to the report.

"The gunshots that rang out in a recording studio in Queens nearly 18 years ago, taking this pioneering rap artiste's life, have been answered," said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. "Today's indictment shows that no amount of time passed can erase the commitment of our NYPD detectives, federal law enforcement partners and prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District, to the pursuit of justice."

Pallbearers carry the casket of Run DMC member Jason 'Jam Master Jay' Mizell after funeral services at the Allen A.M.E. Cathedral on November 5, 2002, in New York City (Getty Images)

"The defendants allegedly carried out the cold-blooded murder of Jason Mizell, a brazen act that has finally caught up with them thanks to the dedicated detectives, agents, and prosecutors who never gave up on this case," Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme also said in his statement. "The charges announced today begin to provide a measure of justice to the family and friends of the victim, and make clear that the rule of law will be upheld, whether that takes days, months, or decades."

Jordan Jr was arrested on Sunday, August 16, and was charged with seven counts of cocaine distribution (between April and June 2017) and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He pleaded not guilty and will be awaiting trial after he was arraigned on Monday. Meanwhile, Washington is already behind bars, serving time in federal prison after being charged for a previous robbery, and he will be arraigned at a later date.

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