Nearly two decades after the slaying of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay, federal prosecutors said Monday they have solved one of New York City’s most enduring mysteries, charging two men from his neighborhood with murder and suggesting that the hip-hop artist — celebrated for his anti-drug stance — was ambushed over a cocaine deal.
The suspects were identified in court papers as Ronald Washington, 56, who is currently serving a federal prison sentence stemming from a string of robberies, and Karl Jordan Jr., 36, who is also charged with engaging in a cocaine distribution conspiracy in 2017.
Jason “Jay” Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay, formed Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel in the early 1980s. Together, they helped take hip-hop mainstream with hits like “It’s Tricky” and the Aerosmith remake collaboration “Walk This Way.”
If convicted, Washington and Jordan each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, or the death penalty. Prosecutors said in court papers that Attorney General William Barr had not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.