Third man charged in cold-case murder of hip-hop icon Jam Master Jay in Queens

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — A third man as been charged in the 2002 murder of hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn revealed Tuesday.

The feds unsealed an indictment against Jay Bryant, a 49-year-old ex-con with a violent criminal history, placing him inside the Run-DMC icon’s Queens music studio the day of the fatal shooting.

Bryant’s arrest comes as two other men, Ronald “Tinard” Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., await a January 2024 trial in Brooklyn Federal Court in the slaying.

According to court filings, Bryant was seen entering Jay’s Merrick Boulevard studio in Jamaica, Queens, on Oct. 30, 2002, and his DNA was found on a piece of clothing left behind at the scene.

Bryant would later admit to the shooting, though court filings don’t say to whom he made this admission. Prosecutors don’t believe he was the triggerman.

Federal prosecutors expect to present evidence at trial that Jordan fired the fatal shots, according to court documents.

The trio stormed into the studio around 7:30 p.m., the feds say. Washington is accused at pointing his gun at someone inside and ordering the person to the floor.

Jordan allegedly approached the 37-year-old Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, and fired two shots at close range, striking him once in the head. His second shot struck a man named Uriel Rincon in the leg, the feds say.

Prosecutors have said that Washington and Jordan wanted revenge on Mizell for cutting them out of a drug deal. Mizell had acquired nearly 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of cocaine from a narcotics supplier in the Midwest and the suspects were supposed to distribute the drugs in Maryland, but the turntable wizard told Washington they wouldn’t be in on the deal, prosecutors said.

Washington and Jordan were arrested in 2020, though Washington’s defense attorney has said that the government identified him as a suspect back in 2006.

Bryant said through a lawyer he will plead not guilty.

“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,” attorney César de Castro said in an email.

Bryant, who has used several aliases, has a criminal record dating back three decades that spans New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. His charges include weapon and drug offenses, armed robbery and failing to appear to several court dates, according to federal prosecutors, who are asking that he be held without bail.

He was already being held on federal drug distribution charges after a September indictment in Brooklyn.