Skip to main content
Press Release

Two Queens Men Charged with the Murder Of RUN-DMC D.J. Jason Mizell, also Known as “Jam Master Jay”

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington Allegedly Murdered Hip Hop Star Over a Drug Dispute

A 10-count indictment was unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York charging Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr., with the October 30, 2002 murder of Jason Mizell, also known as “Jam Master Jay,” a member of the famed hip hop group Run-DMC.  Each defendant is charged with murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and firearm-related murder for the fatal shooting of Mizell inside the victim’s recording studio in Hollis, Queens.  Jordan is charged with several additional narcotics distribution counts.  Jordan was arrested yesterday and will be arraigned this afternoon via videoconference by United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.  Washington is in federal custody and will be arraigned at a later date.     

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), Daryl McCormick, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrests and indictment. 

“The defendants allegedly carried out the cold-blooded murder of Jason Mizell, a brazen act that has finally caught up with them thanks to the dedicated detectives, agents and prosecutors who never gave up on this case,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.  “The charges announced today begin to provide a measure of justice to the family and friends of the victim, and make clear that the rule of law will be upheld, whether that takes days, months or decades.”

“The gunshots that rang out in a recording studio in Queens nearly 18 years ago, taking this pioneering rap artist’s life, have been answered. Today’s indictment shows that no amount of time passed can erase the commitment of our NYPD detectives, federal law enforcement partners and prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, to the pursuit of justice,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.

“The ATF New York Field Division never believed this case was unsolvable,” stated ATF Acting Special Agent-in-Charge McCormick.  “Working tirelessly alongside the NYPD Cold Case Squad, we were determined to bring justice for the Mizell family and see these killers held accountable. For nearly eighteen years, one of these alleged perpetrators walked freely, thinking he’d gotten away with murder. But today, thanks to the unwavering efforts of the investigators and prosecutors, two individuals will answer for their crimes.”

As alleged in court filings, on October 30, 2002, Mizell was present at his recording studio, 24/7 Studio, located on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens.  At approximately 7:30 p.m., Washington and Jordan, armed with firearms, entered the studio.  Washington pointed his firearm at an individual located inside the studio and demanded that the person lie on the floor.  Jordan approached Mizell, pointed his firearm at him, and fired two shots at close range, striking the victim once in the head, killing him.  The second shot struck another individual in the leg. 

The investigation revealed that the motive for the killing resulted from Mizell’s previous acquisition of approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine from a narcotics supplier in the Midwest.  The cocaine was allegedly intended to be distributed in Maryland by Washington, Jordan and other co-conspirators.  Mizell had recently informed Washington that the defendant would not be involved in distributing the narcotics in Maryland, which precipitated the murder conspiracy. 

In addition to the murder, Jordan is also charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and seven counts of cocaine distribution. 

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment, or the death penalty. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell and Mark E. Misorek are in charge of the prosecution.    

The Defendants:

KARL JORDAN, JR. (also known as “Little D” and “Noid”)
Age: 36
Hollis, Queens

RONALD WASHINGTON (also known as “Tinard”)
Age: 56
Hollis, Queens

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-CR-305 (LDH)


John Marzulli
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated August 17, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime