Jam Master Jay: Godson and childhood friend guilty of Run-DMC star’s murder

The godson and a childhood friend of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay have been convicted of his murder in New York City more than two decades ago.

Karl Jordan Jr, 40, and Ronald Washington, 59, targeted the musician at his recording studio after being cut out of a drug deal, the trial heard.

The hip-hop pioneer, real name Jason Mizell, was 37 when he was shot in the head in Queens on 30 October 2002.

Jordan and Washington now face 20 years to life in prison.

Mizell formed Run-DMC with friends Joseph Simmons and Darryl McDaniels, all of whom grew up in the Hollis neighbourhood in the New York borough of Queens.

The group became one of the most influential hip-hop acts of all time and had a string of hits in the 1980s including tracks such as It’s Tricky, It’s Like That and Aerosmith collaboration Walk This Way.

Although the group was publicly against drug use and made anti-drug public service announcements, Mizell turned to cocaine trafficking as their popularity began to fade in the 1990s.

Prosecutors said Jordan, Mizell’s godson, and Washington, a childhood friend who was staying with Mizell’s sister, thought they would be part of a drug deal worth nearly $200,000, and were angered when they were cut out.

Getty Images 3/2/1988- RUN-DMC poses in full regalia that they popularized- heavy gold chains, hats, sunglasses, and Adidas track suits. They have just received the Grammy AwardsGetty ImagesRun-DMC are one of the most influential groups in hip-hop history

During a four-week trial, defence lawyer Ezra Spilke called the prosecution’s account of events “one version of many”.

But prosecutors said the accused carried out an “execution” that was “motivated by greed and by revenge”.

The murder went unsolved for years before the pair were charged in 2020.

Two key eyewitnesses denied they could identify the killers for years until they changed their stories after the case was reopened in 2016.

Uriel “Tony” Rincon testified that he was playing a video game with Mizell when Jordan walked into the room, shook hands with the hip-hop star and then started shooting.

“And then I see Jay just fall,” he said.

A woman who worked for Mizell’s JMJ Records label, Lydia High, also witnessed the shooting and said Washington ordered her to the floor as the killers made their escape.

Both witnesses said fear prevented them from identifying the killers earlier.

“I felt that [Mizell’s] wife and his children needed closure, and I felt that they should know what took place,” Mr Rincon testified during the trial.

Other witnesses testified that Jordan bragged about carrying out the killing.

Another man, Jay Bryant, was arrested in 2023 and will face a separate trial in 2026.

He is accused of entering Mizell’s studio through the front door and letting Jordan and Washington in through a back door.

Source: BBC

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