Jam Master Jay: Godson and Childhood Buddy Responsible for the Death of Run-DMC Star

Two individuals close to Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay have been found guilty of his murder in New York City over 20 years ago.

Karl Jordan Jr, 40, and Ronald Washington, 59, focused on the musician at his recording studio after being excluded from a drug deal, as revealed during the trial.

Jason Mizell, a hip-hop pioneer, was 37 years old when he was shot in the head in Queens on October 30, 2002.

Jordan and Washington are now looking at a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Washington shouted at the jury following the guilty verdict, accusing them of killing two innocent individuals, as reported by the Associated Press. Jordan’s fans started shouting and using foul language towards the jury.

Mizell, along with friends Joseph Simmons and Darryl McDaniels, founded Run-DMC. They all hailed from the Hollis neighbourhood in Queens, New York.

They quickly rose to fame in the world of hip-hop, releasing a series of popular tracks in the 1980s like It’s Tricky, It’s Like That, and the famous collaboration Walk This Way with Aerosmith.

Despite publicly advocating against drug use and creating anti-drug public service announcements, Mizell resorted to cocaine trafficking as their fame declined in the 1990s.

According to prosecutors, Jordan, who is Mizell’s godson, and Washington, a childhood friend staying with Mizell’s sister, believed they would be involved in a lucrative transaction but became upset when they were excluded.

Run-DMC is among the most important groups in hip-hop history

Throughout a four-week trial, defence attorney Ezra Spilke referred to the prosecution’s description of events as “one version of many.”

The defence also questioned the reliability of eyewitness testimony given the passage of time.

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However, prosecutors presented numerous witnesses, forensic evidence, and claimed that the accused committed an act driven by greed and revenge, which they described as a “execution”.

Despite being under suspicion for years, the murder case remained unsolved until federal prosecutors charged the two defendants in 2020.

Two crucial witnesses initially claimed they were unable to identify the perpetrators, but later altered their testimonies once the case was reopened in 2016.

Uriel “Tony” Rincon shared his account of playing a video game with Mizell when Jordan entered the room, greeted the hip-hop star, and then began shooting.

“And then I witnessed Jay’s sudden collapse,” he recounted.

Lydia High, an employee at Mizell’s JMJ Records label, recounted the incident, stating that Washington instructed her to get down on the floor as the assailants fled.

Both witnesses mentioned that fear had stopped them from identifying the killers sooner.

Mr. Rincon testified during the trial that he believed Mizell’s wife and children needed closure and should know what took place.

According to other witnesses, Jordan boasted about committing the murder.

According to US prosecutor Breon Peace, the witnesses in the recording studio were familiar with the killers and feared retaliation if they assisted law enforcement.

Another individual, Jay Bryant, is currently undergoing a separate trial connected to this situation.

In 2026, he is set to make a court appearance, facing allegations of allowing Jordan and Washington to enter the studio through the back door where Mizell was located.

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