Two men have been indicted over the 2002 shooting of the hip-hop artist and member of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay, one of New York’s most notorious unsolved killings, three law enforcement officials said on Monday.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. One identified the suspects as Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan. Federal prosecutors were expected to announce the charges on Monday afternoon.
Washington, who had reportedly been living on a couch at Jay’s home, was publicly named as a possible suspect or witness in 2007. He is serving a federal prison sentence stemming from a string of robberies committed while on the run after Jay’s death.
In court papers filed at the time, prosecutors alleged Washington waved a handgun around and ordered people in Jay’s Queens recording studio to lie on the ground while another man killed him, on 30 October 2002.
Washington “provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell”, prosecutors wrote.
Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay, was a member of the 1980s hip-hop sensation Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel. Their hits included It’s Tricky, Christmas in Hollis and the Aerosmith collaboration Walk This Way.
Jay was shot once in the head with a .40-caliber bullet by a masked assailant at his studio in Hollis, Queens, where he grew up, police said then. He left a wife and three children.
Police identified at least four people in the studio with Jay, including the gunmen. The city and Jay’s friends offered more than $60,000 in reward money, but witnesses refused to come forward.
Jay’s acquaintance with Washington upset his family. Washington had been linked to the 1995 fatal shooting of Randy Walker, a close associate of the late Tupac Shakur.