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Justice for Jam Master Jay: Two Men Found Guilty of Murder in 2002 Killing of Run-DMC DJ

A third defendant, Jay Bryant, will go on trial in January 2026

Source: Arista Records

DMC, Jam Master Jay, and Run as pictured on the cover of Run-DMC's "Mary Mary" single.

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In 2002, 37-year-old Jason William Mizell, a.k.a. Jam Master Jay, best known as the DJ for Run-DMC, was shot and killed in his recording studio in Queens, New York. Today, two men were finally convicted in his murder: Ronald Washington, Jay’s childhood friend, and Karl Jordan Jr., Jay's godson.

The federal jury initially began their deliberations this past Thursday, but due to a juror being dismissed and replaced by an alternate, they were forced to restart the deliberations on Monday. It took the jury approximately 10 hours in total to render their verdict.

A third defendant, Jay Bryant, is scheduled to go on trial in January 2026

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Source: Arista Records

RUN, DMC, and Jam Master Day as pictured on the cover of 2002's 'RUN-DMC Greatest Hits"

In the December 2003 issue of Playboy, writer Frank Owen detailed the events of the evening in a piece entitled “The Last Days of Jam Master Jay.” During the course of the article, Owen interviewed a number of individuals in Jay’s circle, delving into the mystery of who might’ve actually been responsible for the murder; both Jordan and Washington featured as characters in Owen's story.

The article also noted that 25-year-old Urieco Rincon, who was also in the studio when Jay was shot, took a bullet to the leg, but Rincon had said for many years that he didn't know the identity of his shooter. That, as it was discovered in the courtroom on January 31, was not true: Rincon had chosen not to identify the shooter because he feared for his life.

"I omitted the truth," Rincon confessed during the trial. "I was confused and scared. I just saw a bunch of people that I know with something I'd never seen. I was scared. I was surprised at who I saw and what happened. I didn't understand what I saw, and I didn't understand why or who - because, again, it was somebody I knew. So that's why it was hard for me to grasp.

"I walked directly to Jay - gave him half a handshake and at the same time, that's when I hear a couple of shots," continued Rincon. "I see Jay just fall. I am on the floor tending to my wound and also trying to pay attention to Jason, shaking him, asking him if he's okay and he's not responding."

As to why he finally decided to come forward and tell all, Rincon said, "I felt that his wife and his children needed closure, and I felt that they should know what took place," although he admitted that he was still scared about testifying in court.

[More details about the case can be found in Q's previous piece on Jay's murder.]

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The murder came about while Washington and Jordan were engaged in narcotics trafficking and firearm-related murder. Per CNN's courtroom coverage, a fight was on the verge of breaking out in the wake of the verdict being announced, with Washington saying, "Y'all just killed some innocent people, get me out of here," while Jordan looked at his supporters and said, "I love y'all." Shouting from their supporters began as Washington and Jordan were quickly hustled out of the courtroom.

“It’s definitely a long time coming," said Jay's cousin, Carlis Thompson, outside court. "Justice delayed is not always justice denied. Jason himself was an amazing talent. Life ended far, far too soon, and I’m just glad that justice was served.”

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