Two Men Found Guilty in Murder of Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay

The iconic rap trio's DJ was shot and killed at his recording studio in 2002

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Feb 27, 2024

Following decades of investigations and weeks of testimony, a Brooklyn jury has found two men, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, guilty of murdering Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay.

The iconic rap trio's longtime DJ musician, born Jason Mizell, was shot and killed at his recording studio in Queens on October 30, 2002, at age 37. Jordan and Washington were indicted for their connection to his death in 2020, and last year, a third person was charged in the murder case.

While the third man, Jay Bryant, will be charged at a later date, Jordan and Washington are now each facing a minimum of 20 years in prison as the trial — which began on January 29 — finally reached its conclusion today. 

As reported back in 2020, Jordan and Washington were indicted on conspiring to kill Mizell after a drug deal gone wrong, with US attorneys alleging that the DJ had begun selling cocaine as Run-DMC's popularity waned. When a dealer had allegedly refused to work with him if he included Washington in their distribution plan, Washington and Jordan plotted Mizell's death. (Bryant is believed to have helped the pair gain access to the musician, who had been playing video games at 24/7 Studio around the time of his death.)

Attorney Miranda Gonzalez described the shooting as both an “ambush” and an “execution" [via Rolling Stone]. She told the court that the motive was money. Washington, a childhood friend of Mizell, had accompanied him on a trip to Baltimore, where a drug dealer refused to work with him — and without Washington's involvement in the scheme, he and Jordan, Mizell's godson, would earn nothing.

Mizell's death took place when Run-DMC were attempting a comeback, having taken a break after the 1993 release of Down with the King. They had recommitted themselves in 2001 with Crown Royal, and Jam Master Jay was trying to make ends meet with his JMJ Records label, which had just signed Rusty Waters. He had been scheduled to go on tour with the group the day after he was killed.

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