Nearly 20 years after his death, two men have been charged in connection to the killing of Jam Master Jay. The Run-DMC co-founder, born Jason William Mizell, was shot dead in the lounge of a Jamaica, Queens recording studio on October 30, 2002. As the New York Times reports, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of two men — Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr. — who investigators suspect were involved in Mizell’s killing.
Washington and Jordan were reportedly indicted on charges of murder while engaged in drug trafficking. Washington is currently serving a federal prison sentence for robbery, and Jordan was brought into custody on Sunday. Jordan had previously gone to prison for shooting Mizell’s nephew, Rodney Jones. It’s believed that Mizell was involved on the finance side of their drug trafficking operation.
The case has been open for 18 years, and as recently as 2017, seemed to hit a significant snag. On the fifteenth anniversary of his death, an Associated Press story mentions that New York police detectives acknowledged their investigation had “gone cold.” As Pitchfork notes, law enforcement sources told New York’s WPIX just weeks later that the case was nearing resolution — nearly three years before Washington and Jordan were charged.
As CBS News points out, court documents connected Washington to the case as a potential suspect or witness as early as 2007, citing that he’d been living on Mizell’s couch in the days leading up to his death:
In court papers filed at the time, prosecutors alleged that Washington waved a handgun around and ordered people in Jay's Queens recording studio to lie on the ground while another man killed him on Oct. 30, 2002.
The motive behind Mizell’s killing has been the source of much speculation in the interceding years. Averse to high-profile rivalries or industry tension, investigators struggled to find any plausible motive. At one point, detectives believed Mizell’s death stemmed from beef with 50 Cent, who worked closely with the producer at this time — but this was eventually dismissed.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, investigators are expected to announce the unsealing of a criminal indictment, and detail the charges brought against Washington and Jordan.