A third man has been charged in connection with the 2002 murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay in New York City.
Jay Bryant, 49, was indicted in federal court in the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday and charged with the death of the hip-hop legend, whose birth name is Jason “Jay” Mizell.
Two other men — Karl Jordan Jr., and Ronald Washington — were previously indicted in August 2020 in the death of 37-year-old Mizell, who was shot and killed at his recording studio after a drug deal went bad on Oct. 30, 2002.
Bryant’s attorney, César de Castro, told the Associated Press in an email that he and his client had just learned of the charges.
Bryant was already locked up on unrelated drug-trafficking charges at the time of the indictment, according to court documents.
“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.
According to a letter filed with the court Tuesday, Bryant, Jordan and Washington entered the studio around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2002.
Washington pointed his gun at an individual inside and demanded they get on the floor. Jordan then walked toward Mizell and fired two shots at close range. One shot fatally struck the rapper in the head. The other hit another witness in the leg.
All three fled the scene, prosecutors said.
Bryant was spotted entering the building just before shots rang out, and a piece of clothing he left behind contained his DNA, officials said.
He later admitted to being a part of the murder, telling one associate “that he was in fact the shooter,” however, prosecutors noted in a footnote that “The evidence does not support Bryant’s claim that he was the shooter, and the evidence at trial will prove that Jordan was the individual that shot Mizell.”
An official arraignment date has not been set.
Mizell was in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel in the early 1980s.
The group’s string of hits helped bring hip-hop music into the mainstream, including “King of Rock,” “It’s Tricky” and a remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”
For years, Mizell’s death lingered as a cold case, with witnesses reluctant to speak up despite reward money being offered.
With Post wires