Two Suspects in Jam Master Jay Killing Won’t Face Death Penalty

Federal prosecutors won’t be pursuing the death penalty against the two men accused of killing hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay.

If Karl Jordan and Ronald Washington are found guilty of killing the Run DMC DJ, prosecutors won’t be seeking the death penalty, NY Post reports.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland “has authorized and directed” Brooklyn federal prosecutors “not to seek the death penalty against defendants Karl Jordan, Jr. and Ronald Washington,” prosecutors wrote in a letter to a federal judge on Saturday.

Jordan, 36, is accused of fatally shooting Jay (born Jason William Mizell) at his recording studio in Queens in October 2002. Washington, 56, is accused of orchestrating the hit against Mizell after allegedly getting cut out of a cocaine deal. While they won’t face a death sentence, Jordan and Washington face a life sentence if found guilty.

“Please be advised that United States Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has authorized and directed the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York not to seek the death penalty against defendants Karl Jordan, Jr. and Ronald Washington,” the letter said, ABC 7 reports.

Washington and Jordan were charged in August 2020 after an informant came forward with critical evidence about the 18-year-old case, NY Daily News reports. They’re accused of storming into Jay’s studio on Oct. 30, 2002, ordering people to the ground at gunpoint before fatally shooting the 37-year-old hip-hop pioneer.

The case went cold for nearly 20 years before Washington and Jordan were arrested. In June, a lawyer for one of the suspects asked for old grand jury testimony from an eyewitness who said that Washington pointed a gun at her during the shooting.

“Law enforcement officers notified Mr. Washington — including during an interview on April 16, 2019 — that Lydia High had positively identified him as having held her down at gunpoint in the studio during the murder of Jason Mizell,” wrote attorney Ezra Spilke.

A date for Jam Master Jay’smurder trial is pending.

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