NEW YORK — A guilty verdict was reached Tuesday in the murder trial for two men charged with killing Run-D.M.C. star Jam Master Jay.

Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was gunned down in 2002 inside his music studio in Hollis, Queens.

Prosecutors said Mizell’s godson, Karl Jordan Jr., and his childhood friend, Ronald Washington, killed the DJ after he cut them out of a cocaine trafficking deal.

Jordan Jr. was 18 years old when he shot Mizell in the head, according to court documents.

Run-DMC was among the most influential and innovative hip-hop groups of the 1980s. The group’s hits include “It’s Tricky,” “Christmas in Hollis,” and the remake with Aerosmith of “Walk This Way.”

The murder of Mizell rocked the world of hip-hop and remained a mystery for more than two decades. He left behind a wife and three children.

A courtroom sketch depicts the verdict being announced on Feb. 27, 2024.

Jane Rosenberg

The government called 36 witnesses throughout the trial, spending weeks laying out the case.

Tony Rincon, who was also shot during the incident, visibly cried during his testimony in January as he described Mizell, who was his mentor, being shot to death in front of him. Rincon said he realized he had been shot himself, and he explained why he didn’t tell police who the gunman was until years later.

“While we were just talking, the front door of the studio comes open. I see Mr. Jordan come toward Jay. He gave half a handshake and I heard gunshots. I saw Jay just fall. Then I felt pain in my left knee and realized I’d been shot,” Rincon said.

The defense only called one witness, a memory expert, to undermine the prosecution’s reliance on decades-old memories.

A third suspect, Jay Bryant, is expected to face trial later this year. 

Bryant is accused of participating in the murder, and allegedly left behind an article of clothing containing his DNA at the crime scene, according to court documents.


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