Home » Trial set to begin for 2 accused of killing Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay over 20 years ago

Trial set to begin for 2 accused of killing Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay over 20 years ago

by NBC News

NEW YORK — Two men accused of murder in the death of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay are set to go on trial Monday, more than 20 years after the trailblazing DJ was shot in his New York City recording studio.

Opening statements are scheduled in Brooklyn federal court for the murder trial of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, who prosecutors say killed the 37-year-old Jay over a drug deal in 2002. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Jay, whose birth name was Jason Mizell, worked the turntables alongside rappers Joe “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels as the group helped bring hip-hop into the mainstream in the 1980s with hits like “It’s Tricky” and a remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”

His slaying rocked the hip-hop world and led the group to disband, but the case went unsolved until the two men from his Queens neighborhood were arrested in 2020. A third man was charged in the shooting last year and will be tried separately.

Run-DMC espoused an anti-drug stance in lyrics and PSAs, but prosecutors allege Jay became involved in trafficking cocaine in the mid 1990s. Prior to his murder, they say he had acquired 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of the drug, which Washington, Jordan and others were going to distribute in Maryland.

Washington, however, got into a dispute with another person involved in the scheme and Jay cut him out of the deal. He and Jordan then showed up armed at the DJ’s 24/7 recording studio in Jamaica, Queens, on the evening of Oct. 30, 2002, prosecutors allege.

Inside, Washington is accused of waving a gun and ordering one person to lie on the floor, while Jordan allegedly shot Jay in the head.

Despite several others being present in the studio at the time of the killing and more than $60,000 in rewards offered for information in the aftermath, witnesses remained tight-lipped and the case went cold for many years, frustrating police and Jay’s family.

Prosecutors say witnesses have now identified both Washington, 59, and…

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