A third man has been charged in the 2002 shooting death of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay, prosecutors said Tuesday, marking the latest movement in a case that languished for years.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York filed a superseding indictment on Tuesday, charging Jay Bryant, 49, in the death of Jason “Jay” Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay.
Two other men, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., had previously been indicted in August 2020 for the death of Jay. The hip-hop trailblazer was shot in the head in his studio in Queens on Oct. 30, 2002.
Bryant’s attorney, César de Castro, said in an email that they had just learned of the charges.
“Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing. Proving it at trial is another matter,” he said.
Bryant, from Queens, was in custody already on unrelated federal drug charges.
When Jordan and Washington were indicted in 2020 on murder and drug charges, prosecutors at the time said that they had entered Mizell’s recording studio, where Jordan allegedly fired two close-range shots at the DJ. One of the shots struck Mizell in the head, killing him. The second, prosecutors said, struck another person in the leg.
Prosecutors at the time also disclosed that an investigation revealed that the murder took place after Mizell acquired 10 kilograms of cocaine from a Midwest supplier and informed Washington that he would not be distributing the drugs in Maryland.
In a letter filed with the court on Tuesday, prosecutors said Bryant and the two other men entered the building that evening, and then fled after the shooting. They said Bryant was seen going into the building, and his DNA was recovered at the scene.
Jay was in Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel in the early 1980s. The group helped bring hip-hop music into the mainstream. Run DMC’s hits include “King of Rock,” “It’s Tricky” and a remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”
For years, Jay’s death lingered as a cold case, with witnesses reluctant to speak up despite reward money being offered.
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