Two suspects were charged in the 2002 murder of hip-hop artist Jam Master Jay (pictured), who was one of the most notorious unsolved murders in New York City to date, two police officers told the Associated Press on Monday
Two suspects were charged in the 2002 murder of hip-hop artist Jam Master Jay who was one of the most notorious unsolved murders in New York City to date.
Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan are charged with murder in a drug-related homicide, New York prosecutors said Monday.
Jason & # 39; Jay & # 39; Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay, was shot dead on October 30, 2002 in his recording studio in Hollis, Queens.
Prosecutors now say that 37-year-old Mizell was killed in a drug deal.
"First and foremost, it is a murder that has gone unanswered for nearly two decades," said Seth DuCharme, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, at a press conference.
“Today we're starting to answer the question of who killed Jason Mizell and why.
“What we alleged on this charge is that on October 30, 2002, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Washington went into a Queens music studio where Mr. Mizell and others were essentially working, hanging out, and they came in and murdered him in cold blood. & # 39;
Jordan and Washington both face 10 crimes. Two of these cases concern Mizell's murder, the other concern the distribution of cocaine.
Washington and Jordan were involved in a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine at the time of Mizell's murder.
In a separate memo, prosecutors alleged Mizell attempted to exclude Washington from a "multi-kilogram multi-state, narcotic transaction" – and Washington and Jordan conspired to kill the artist in response.
Jason & # 39; Jay & # 39; Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay, was shot dead on October 30, 2002 in his recording studio in Hollis, Queens
Mizell was a member of hip-hop sensation Run-DMC of the 1980s with Joseph & # 39; Run & # 39; Simmons and Darryl & # 39; DMC & # 39; McDaniel
Washington, who reportedly lived on a couch in Mizell's house for the days before his death, was publicly named as a possible suspect or witness back in 2007.
He is currently serving a federal prison sentence in Kentucky for a series of robberies committed while fleeing the police after Mizell's death.
In the court files filed at the time, prosecutors alleged that Washington waved a gun and ordered people in Mizell's Queens recording studio to lie on the floor while another man killed him on October 30, 2002.
Washington "provided cover for its associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell," the prosecutor wrote.
On Monday, prosecutors confirmed that Jordan was arrested by ATF officials on Sunday.
Mizell was once shot in the head with a 0.40 caliber bullet by a masked assailant in his studio in Hollis, the borough of Queens, where he grew up, police said at the time. He left a wife and three children.
The police identified at least four people in the studio with Mizell, including the two armed gunmen.
The town and Mizell's friends offered more than $ 60,000 in reward money, but witnesses refused to come forward and the case was weakened.
Mizell's acquaintance with Washington angered his family. Before he slept on Mizell's couch, Washington had been linked to the 1995 fatal shooting of Randy Walker, a close associate of the late Tupac Shakur.
The responsible deputy ATF special agent Daryl McCormick offered Mizell's relatives a message at the press conference on Monday.
"For Mr. Mizell's family and friends who have suffered a heavy burden of grief over these many years, we hope that today's arrests and indictments and this announcement bring some measure of peace," said McCormick.
Jordan appeared at a court hearing Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty.
Washington is expected to be indicted later this week.
If convicted, Washington and Jordan each face a mandatory minimum 20 year prison sentence and a maximum life in prison or the death penalty.
Prosecutors said in court records that Attorney General William Barr has not yet decided whether to apply for the death penalty.
Seth DuCharme, U.S. Acting Attorney for New York's Eastern District, announced the charges against Jordan and Washington at a news conference on Monday (pictured)
Police are pictured outside the recording studio where Mizell was shot on October 30th
Run-DMC's hits included It's Tricky, Christmas in Hollis, and the Aerosmith remake collaboration Walk This Way. The trio is pictured in New York City in May 1985
Mizell was born in the 80s as a member of the hip-hop sensation Run-DMC of the 1980s with Joseph & # 39; Run & # 39; Simmons and Darryl & # 39; DMC & # 39; McDaniel famous.
Her hits included "It's Tricky", "Christmas in Hollis" and the Aerosmith remake collaboration "Walk This Way".
Run-DMC became known as a pioneer of hip-hop in the early 1980s and brought the underground music movement of the time to the masses.
The trio became the first hip-hop act to receive a gold album, platinum record, and Grammy nomination. In 2009, it became only the second hip hop group in history to be inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of fame after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Run-DMC were the first rap group to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone, and they were the first to appear on American Bandstand and have their videos play on MTV.
It was Mizell who is credited with creating the band's distinctive style of wearing heavy gold chains, black hats, and shoelace-free Adidas clam-toed sneakers. He once said, “The way I dressed in high school is how we dressed … Mood is our mood. & # 39;
Her reign ended tragically in 2002 after Mizell was shot.
The mysterious circumstances surrounding Jay's death were captured in a 2018 Netflix documentary titled ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay.
The film did not come to a conclusion as to who committed the murder.
Fans visit a tribute wall outside Mizell's studio after his death at the age of 37
Prosecutors provided more details about the motive why Mizell killed a memo asking the presiding judge to detain Jordan and Washington without commitment.
It describes how an investigation by the NYPD, the ATF, and the FBI found that Mizell tried to exclude Washington from a multi-kilogram narcotics transaction in multiple states prior to his murder. In retaliation, Washington and Jordan conspired to commit murder and eventually executed Mizell. «
The prosecutor said Mizell was involved in a cocaine trade between 1996 and 2002.
"In or around July 2002, Mizell purchased about ten kilograms of cocaine as a shipment from a supplier in the Midwest," the memo says.
& # 39; The cocaine was supposed to be distributed in Maryland by Washington, Jordan and other co-conspirators.
& # 39; A dispute between Washington and one of the co-conspirators resulted in Mizell telling Washington that he would be expelled from the Maryland deal.
"After Washington's argument with Mizell, Washington and Jordan conspired to kill Mizell."
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