Third man charged in 2002 with fatal shooting of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay star

A third man was charged in the 2002 shooting death of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jayprosecutors said Tuesday, marking the latest move in a case that languished for years.

Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York filed an indictment Tuesday, charging Jay Bryant, 49, with the death of Jason “Jay” Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay.

Two other men, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., had previously been charged in August 2020 in Jay’s death. The hip-hop pioneer was shot in the head in his studio on October 30, 2002.

Bryant’s attorney, Cesar de Castro, said in an email that they had just learned of the charges.

“Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing. Proving it at trial is another matter,” he said.

Bryant, from Queens, was already in custody on unrelated federal drug charges.

At the time the other two men were charged, authorities said Jay’s death was related to a drug deal gone bad. In a letter filed with the court Tuesday, prosecutors said Bryant and the two other men entered the building that night and then fled after the shooting. They said Bryant was seen entering the building and DNA from him was recovered at the scene.

Jay was in Run-DMC with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel in the early 1980s. The group helped bring hip-hop music into the mainstream. Run DMC hits include “King of Rock,” “It’s Tricky,” and a new version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”

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For years, Jay’s death remained a cold case, with witnesses reluctant to speak despite a monetary reward being offered.

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