Two Men Charged with Murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay

Indictments come 18 years following the death of the iconic DJ

run-dmc jam master jay arrest murder
Run-DMC (Jam Master Jay center), photo by Lynn Goldsmith

    On October 30th, 2002, Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay was shot and killed while playing video games in his recording studio. Now, some 18 years later, two men have been charged in connection with his murder.

    Federal prosecutors announced the charging of Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan, Jr., 36, during a press conference on Monday. According to the indictments, the murder was in retaliation for Jay cutting Washington out of a drug deal.

    Update — Tuesday, August 18th: Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Jam Master Jay’s family have both issued statements in response to the two arrests. Find those below.


    Allegedly, Jam Master Jay was trafficking cocaine between 1996 and his death and 2002. Washington and Jordan, along with other unidentified individuals, were meant to distribute about 10 kilograms in July 2002. When Washington and another co-conspirator got into an argument, Jam Master Jay told Washington he’d no longer be part of the operation.

    That’s when he and Jordan conspired to kill the DJ. They entered his studio on October 30th, 2020, where Washington shooting him in the head. Another victim was also shot in the leg.

    Washington is already serving 17-and-a-half years in federal prison for robbery. Having been convicted in 2007, he’s scheduled to be released in April 2021. Meanwhile, Jordan was arrested on Sunday. Both men are charged with murder while engaged in drug trafficking and firearm-related murder. Jordan also faces one count of conspiracy and seven counts of cocaine distribution stemming from 2017. He pleaded not guilty in a teleconference court appearances on Monday, according to CNN.


    Born Jason Mizell, Jam Master Jay was responsible for the beats behind the pioneering rap trio Run-DMC, which also included Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels as members.

    For nearly two decades, detectives struggled to establish a motive for Jam Master Jay’s murder. At one point, investigators explored the theory that Jay Master Jay’s killing stemmed from a grudge against his one-time protégé 50 Cent.

    McDaniels’ statement on the arrests via SPIN reads:

    “Although this latest news opens up a lot of painful memories for all of us who knew and loved Jam Master Jay, I’m relieved to hear that 2 suspects have been arrested and charged with his murder. It’s been a difficult 18 years not having him around while knowing that his murderers were not yet indicted for this heinous crime. I commend NYPD, NYC Detectives, Federal Agents and all the law enforcement who were involved in this case, for not giving up and working to bring justice for Jay. I realize this is a first step in the judicial process, but I hope Jay can finally Rest in Peace. My love to Jay’s wife Terri, his sons, his family, his friends, and all of his fans. #JMJForever”


    Jam Master Jay’s family’s statement via Twitter reads:

    “First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who has reached out in support of our family today. We appreciate your kind thoughts and words. Upon hearing this news, we have mixed emotions; we truly hope that these indictments are a solid step towards justice being served in the murder of Jay.

    We realize that there are other families out there who have lingering pain who continue to wait for their own closure, and we pray that this case gives them hope,” the statement continued. “In spite of all the tragedies we’ve seen this year alone, we take comfort in our family, our faith and in time’s ability to heal all. We can only hope that this news brings awareness to the fact that Black lives do matter. We ask that everyone please respect our family’s privacy as this case moves forward through the judicial system. Thank you.”


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