Queens native Jay Bryant was formally charged for his alleged role in the 2002 shooting of Run-DMC‘s Jam Master Jay, becoming the third person to be accused for the murder.
Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. were indicted in August 2020 for their alleged roles in the hip-hop pioneer’s death. Washington was already incarcerated for a robbery. Meanwhile, Jordan Jr. had previously gone to prison for shooting Mizell’s nephew.
According to court filings, the three face murder and drug charges. They previously pleaded not guilty and are due to face trial in January 2024.
Jam Master Jay, real name Jason Mizell, was the DJ in Run-DMC which provided the foundation for the raps that were provided by Joesph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C” McDaniels. Mizell was fatally shot inside his Jamaica, Queens recording studio at the age of 37 in 2002. His murder has remained unsolved for nearly two decades.
Bryant’s lawyer, César de Castro, told The Washington Post in an email that his client would plead not guilty. “Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing,” Mr. de Castro said. “Proving it at trial is another matter.”
He added: “However, we remain confused why, after more than 20 years and charging two individuals three years ago, does the government now allegedly think that they have sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Bryant.”
Back in 2020, Federal investigators speaking anonymously to The New York Times said they believe Mizell was financing a drug operation, and his involvement contributed to his murder. “There was beef – it didn’t go as planned,” an investigator said.
According to The Washington Post, Court documents filed Tuesday allege that the three defendants — Washington, Jordan and Bryant — entered the DJ’s studio in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2002. Investigators wrote that Washington at gunpoint ordered someone in the studio to get on the ground before Jordan shot Mizell twice at close range, with one shot fatally hitting the DJ in the head.