A third individual has been charged in connection with the murder of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay, according to prosecutors in New York. Jay Bryant, 49 years old, from Queens, who was already in custody on unrelated federal drug charges, denies the charges. In 2020, two other men, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr, were charged with the murder. Both previously pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to face trial in January 2024. Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was shot in the head by a masked man in his studio in 2002.
The death of the influential hip-hop artist remained an unsolved case for nearly two decades. Jam Master Jay was a member of the groundbreaking group he formed with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel, known for hits such as It’s Tricky, It’s Like That, and their collaboration with Aerosmith on Walk This Way. The group disbanded following his death.
A court previously heard that Jam Master Jay was killed “in cold blood” after a high-value cocaine deal went awry. Jay Bryant’s attorney, César de Castro, stated on Tuesday that his client would plead not guilty to the charges. He said, “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.”
The charges against Bryant include murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and other drug-trafficking counts. In a letter filed with the court, prosecutors claimed that Bryant, along with the two other men, had been seen entering and later fleeing the building after the shooting, and that his DNA had been recovered at the scene.
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