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UPDATED: 8 a.m. ET, Feb. 20

Closing arguments in the Jam Master Jay murder trial are set to begin Tuesday at a federal court in Brooklyn.

Karl Jordan, Jr. and Ronald Washington are accused of killing Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell after he allegedly cut them out of a drug deal.

Prosecutors have tried to paint the two men accused in Jay’s death as calculated killers who bragged about killing years after his death. Meanwhile, the defense has tried to point to the lack of evidence as to why the two men should be acquitted. 

Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in New York City more than 20 years ago.



Last week a former roommate of a man accused of killing Jam Master Jay told the court that he heard the accused shooter say he wanted to “kill him again” about two years after the murder. 

According to the Daily News, witness Cherubin Bastien told the federal court that when he lived with accused killer Karl “Little D” Jordan, Jay Master Jay’s name came up in conversation twice during the nine months they were roommates. 

Bastien admitted to the court that he was an avid drug user and drove a cab in Queens when he moved in with Jordan. On the weekends, he would drive Jordan and two friends to upper Manhattan. On one of those trips, Bastien said that Jam Master Jay came up in conversation and that Jordan said, “If I got to kill him, I’ll kill him again.”

On another accusation, Bastien heard Jordan threaten a woman during an argument in the driveway of their Hollis home. 

“He said, ‘I’ll do you like him, like Master Jay,’” Bastien recalled.

Defense lawyer John Diaz questioned Bastien’s creditability, pointing to his heroin use as a reason he could have the story wrong. 

“Heroin is very strong isn’t it?” asked Diaz.

“Quite,” said Bastien.

“It impairs you when you’re on it, isn’t that fair to say?” asked the lawyer.

“Not really,” Bastien answered.

Run-DMC & Joe Clark At Eastside High School

Source: Gary Gershoff / Getty


During the trial last week, a witness told the court that Ronald Washington, one of the men accused of Killing Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, confessed to the murder while serving a sentence in a Brooklyn federal prison.

According to Courthouse News, Yusuf Abdur-Rahman, a fellow inmate, claims Washington admitted to killing Jason “Jay” Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, while they both were serving out their time in 2011.

“What did he tell you?” U.S. Attorney Miranda Gonzalez asked Abdur-Rahman while on the stand.

“That he had murdered Jam Master Jay,” responded Abdur-Rahman.

Abdur-Rahman also said that Washington mentioned a girl who was in the studio during the shooting, “but she was unharmed because that wasn’t what we were there to do.”

Abdur-Rahman wasn’t always cooperative with law enforcement during the investigation into Jam Master Jay’s death. He was previously arrested for refusing to comply with a court summons because he felt he was “misled” by the government. He also said he didn’t want to testify against anyone in the case. 

“I’m not going to be embarrassed and humiliated, labeled as a snitch,” Abdur-Rahman said.

Jam Master Jay and Run-DMC Perform At The Source Awards

Source: Al Pereira / Getty

On Monday, during the trial of the men accused of killing Jam Master Jay, a convicted drug dealer testified that the slain Run DMC DJ got involved in selling drugs to pay his bills.

According to AP, Ralph Mullgrav hesitantly took the stand to talk about Jam Master Jay’s alleged drug dealing that prosecutors believe is what got the famous DJ killed. 

Mullgrav claimed that Jay, born Jason Mizell, had approached him to sell cocaine acquired by the rap star, “maybe 1 or 2 kilos, here or there.”

“Jason wasn’t a drug dealer. He just used it to make ends meet,” Mullgrav told jurors.

During his testimony, he explained to the court that Mizell approached him in August 2002 about a job moving 10 or so kilograms of cocaine in Baltimore, but Mullgrav claims he turned down the offer. 

“He wanted me to work with Tinard. I told him no,” Mullgrav said, using Ronald Washington’s nickname.

In 2020, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington were arrested for the murder of Jam Master Jay. Both men pleaded not guilty.


Run-DMC Portrait Session

Source: Al Pereira / Getty


Last week during trial proceedings, a Brooklyn judge ruled that the man accused of killing Jam Master Jay can’t have his rap lyrics used against him during his trial.

According to AP, after federal prosecutors tried to introduce rap lyrics written by Karl Jordan Jr. into evidence, Brooklyn Federal Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall ruled his lyrics couldn’t be used in court, calling hip-hop “a platform for expression to many who had largely been voiceless.”

In the 14-page order, Judge Hall discussed the evolution of hip-hop, calling rappers community storytellers. 

“From the genre’s nascence as an oral tradition, rap artists have played the part of storytellers, providing a lens into their lives and those in their communities,” Hall wrote.

Prosecutors tried to introduce first-person accounts of violence and references to drug dealing that were found in Jordan’s rap lyrics.

“We aim for the head, no body shots, and we stick around just to see the body drop,” Jordan wrote in one of his songs.

But Judge Hall said the lyrics didn’t detail the specific murder of Jam Master Jay, instead “merely contain generic references to violence that can be found in many rap songs.”

She continued, “The Court cannot help but note that odious themes – including racism, misogyny, and homophobia – can be found in a wide swath of genres other than rap music,” referencing lyrics from the Rolling Stones and country music star Jason Aldean.

Rap lyrics being used in criminal prosecutions became a popular topic of debate after a judge ruled in favor of lyrics being used as evidence against rapper Young Thug in his RICO trial. 

Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville allowed prosecutors to introduce 17 sets of rap lyrics to the jury, but they must show how the lyrics are related to crimes the rapper and his co-defendants are accused of committing. 

On May 17, New York’s State Senate passed a bill that would place limitations on how rap lyrics can be used as evidence in criminal cases. Now, Senate Bill S7527, or the “Rap Music on Trial” must pass the state assembly before it can be enacted into law.

Run-D.M.C. Portrait Session

The trial for the two men accused of killing Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay began last month. Jay, whose real name is Jason Mizell, was shot and killed in New York City more than 20 years ago.

According to AP, during the murder trial of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, prosecutors will try to prove that Jordan Jr. and Washington killed 37-year-old Jay over a drug deal in 2002.

When Jam Master Jay was killed in 2002, his death shocked the hip-hop world. Shortly after, the group Run-DMC broke up and his case went unsolved for almost 10 years. In 2020, Jordan Jr. and Washington were arrested for his murder. Another man was charged in 2023 and will be tried separately. 

According to reports, prosecutors believe that in the mid-1990s, Jam Master Jay became involved in trafficking cocaine. Before he was killed, Jay allegedly acquired 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine, which Washington, Jordan and others were going to distribute in Maryland.

Washington then got into a fight with one of the persons involved in the drug plot, which Jay got wind of and cut Washington out of the deal. 

On the evening of Oct. 30, 2002, Washington and Jordan showed up at Jay’s studio armed and ready to confront him over the drug deal, prosecutors allege. 

Washington is accused of waving a gun and ordering someone in the studio to lie on the floor and Jordan is accused of shooting Jam Master Jay in the head. 

After Jay’s death, $60,000 in rewards were offered for information, but witnesses reluctantly came forward, which forced the case to go cold. Prosecutors say witnesses have finally come forward and have identified both Washington and Jordan as the men who killed Jam Master Jay. 

In 2007, while on trial for a string of armed robberies, Washington was first named as a possible suspect in the murder of Jay. Washington was also quoted several years later saying he was on his way to the studio the night of the murder when he heard gunshots and saw Jordan fleeing.

Jordan’s lawyers claim he was at his pregnant girlfriend’s home at the time of the murder and witnesses can place him there. Jordan also faces gun and cocaine charges.

Both men pleaded not guilty and could face at least 20 years in prison.


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