Jam Master Jay‘s murder trial may feature a dual jury, as federal prosecutors are looking to streamline the proceedings against the three defendants, Karl Jordan, Jr., Ronald Washington and Jay Bryant.
According to documents obtained by AllHipHop on Wednesday (October 25), the government submitted a new motion to advocate for a two-jury trial – which is pretty rare. The update comes just months after a third suspect was charged over the death of the Run-DMC legend.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York indicted 49-year-old Jay Bryant from Queens on May 30, charging him with murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and other drug-trafficking offenses.
César de Castro, a lawyer for Bryant — who is already awaiting trial on a separate drug-related indictment — indicated that his client would plead not guilty.
Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing,” de Castro said. “Proving it at trial is another matter.”
Two other men, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, were previously charged in August 2020 over the killing of Jam Master Jay (real name Jason Mizell), who was shot dead in his Queens recording studio on October 30, 2002.
The trio are alleged to have entered the studio and fled after the fatal shooting, with Jordan firing two shots at the Run-DMC DJ at close range, including one to the head that killed him. Another person was struck in the leg.
Prosecutors claim that Bryant was seen entering the building immediately before the shooting and left behind an article of clothing at the crime scene, which contained his DNA.
An investigation revealed that the slaying was over a drug deal gone wrong, with Jam Master Jay allegedly acquiring roughly 10 kilograms of cocaine — worth an estimated $1.7 million — from a Midwest narcotics supplier months before his death.
When the Hip Hop pioneer sought to exclude Jordan and Washington from the large multi-state drug deal, they “murdered him in cold blood,” prosecutors said in their 2020 indictment against the two men
Jordan, 39, and, Washington, 59, have both pleaded not guilty. A judge dismissed a motion to have their charges dropped last year.
Jordan and his defense lawyers initially filed the motion in April 2022, arguing the over two-decade delay has left him unable to properly defend himself in court, noting the cell phone records that would support his alibi are longer available.