2 men found guilty of murder in 2002 killing of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay

2 men found guilty of murder in 2002 killing of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay

Two men were convicted of murder on Tuesday in the long-standing case of Jam Master Jay, the influential DJ of the pioneering hip-hop group Run-DMC. Ronald Washington, Jay’s childhood friend, and Karl Jordan Jr., Jay’s godson, were found guilty of murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and firearm-related murder.

Following the verdict announcement, tensions ran high in the courtroom, with Ronald Washington expressing his frustration by asserting, “Y’all just killed some innocent people. Get me outta here,” while Karl Jordan Jr. conveyed his love to his supporters before both men were swiftly escorted out amidst a commotion.

Carlis Thompson, Jay’s cousin, hailed the verdict outside the court, acknowledging the long-awaited justice but lamenting that many family members did not live to witness this day. The conviction of Jordan, 40, and Washington, 59, carries a potential sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

The verdict concludes a more than two-decade-long quest for justice since Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, was tragically shot at a recording studio in Queens on October 30, 2002. Despite years of investigation, the case remained unsolved until August 2020 when an indictment was unsealed, implicating Washington and Jordan in the murder, purportedly stemming from a drug-related dispute.

During the trial, witnesses identified the defendants as the assailants, with testimonies underscoring the violent nature of the incident. Prosecutors portrayed the motive as rooted in greed, money, and jealousy, attributing the crime to the actions of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington.

However, defense attorneys argued that a third defendant, Jay Bryant, was the actual perpetrator. They pointed to evidence suggesting Bryant’s involvement, including DNA found on a hat near the crime scene and his presence on a security camera.

While the legal proceedings cast a shadow on Jam Master Jay’s public image as a drug-free rapper, prosecutors contended that he was involved in facilitating drug transactions, which ultimately led to the fatal altercation.

The trial serves as a somber reminder of Jam Master Jay’s pioneering contributions to hip-hop alongside his Run-DMC collaborators, Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels). Together, they revolutionized the genre with their distinctive sound and street style, achieving mainstream success and earning a place in music history.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, Run-DMC’s groundbreaking legacy continues to resonate, paving the way for future rap acts and transcending traditional boundaries between rap and rock. Their influence endures as a testament to their pioneering spirit and enduring impact on popular culture.