Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn filed a superseding indictment charging Jay Bryant, 49, in the death of the hip-hop pioneer, who was born Jason Mizell. César de Castro, Bryant’s attorney, said his client would be pleading not guilty.
“Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing,” he said in a statement (via The New York Times). “Proving it at trial is another matter.” Bryant, who is from Queens, had already been in custody for separate federal drug charges.
Two other men — Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan — were previously indicted in August 2020 and charged in connection with the murder of Mizell. At the time, prosecutors said the shooting was the result of a cocaine deal gone bad. According to court papers, Washington and Jordan conspired to kill Mizell after he excluded them from the deal.
In the new court filing, prosecutors said Bryant entered Mizell’s Queens recording studio with Washington and Jordan. While Washington pointed a gun at another person, Jordan fired two close-range shots at Mizell, including a fatal one to the head.
According to the indictment, Bryant was spotted entering the building immediately before the shooting, and clothing with his DNA was found at the crime scene. Though Bryant at one point admitted to participating in the murder and has actually told someone he was the shooter, prosecutors do not believe he fired the fatal shot.
Mizell’s murder languished as a cold case for nearly two decades as detectives struggled to establish a motive. Now, justice may finally be served.