Legal proceedings are set to commence in the 2002 homicide case of Jam Master Jay.
For nearly 20 years, the murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay in 2002 remained one of the most notorious and unsolved crimes in the hip-hop world, along with two other unsolved killings of prominent rap artists.
Now, Jay’s case is the first of these murders to proceed to trial. Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in the federal murder trial of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, who were apprehended in 2020. Former Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme described the crime as “a brazen act”.
Jay, also known as Jason Mizell, co-founded Run-DMC in the early 1980s alongside Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Joseph Simmons, who were known as DJ Run and Rev. Run. The trio, who were known for their signature hats and love for Adidas, hailed from the Hollis neighborhood of Queens and played a pivotal role in propelling rap music into the mainstream.
They achieved several groundbreaking milestones, including being the first rap group to earn gold and platinum albums and grace the cover of Rolling Stone. Additionally, they were the first hip-hop act to have a music video featured on MTV.
Their iconic 1986 collaboration with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” not only broke barriers between rap and rock but also made a literal impact in the music video by breaking through a wall. In recognition of their influence and achievements, the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jay opened a round-the-clock studio and a record label in Hollis, where he also guided emerging artists. Tragically, he pa*sed away in this location on October 30, 2002. Over $60,000 in rewards were put forward for details about Jay’s death, leading to numerous theories.
Six witnesses to the shooting
Despite the presence of approximately six witnesses to the shooting, along with Rincon who was shot in the leg and survived, it took several years for authorities to apprehend the suspects. It went nowhere because the witnesses would not cooperate.
Prosecutors allege that the motive behind the attack was anger over Jay’s intention to exclude Washington from a deal to move 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine in Maryland. They say that Jay had been involved in moving weight since 1996, although his family has denied any involvement with drugs.
Both accused individuals have denied the charges and if found guilty, each could be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison. Jordan also faces further allegations related to drug trafficking. The trial is expected to last four weeks.