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Press Release

Two Queens Men Convicted of Drug-Related 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
Gunman Karl Jordan, Jr., Boasted That if the Victim Was Still Alive, “I’d Kill Him Again”

Today, a federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict against Karl Jordan, Jr., and Ronald Washington for the October 30, 2002, murder of Jason Mizell, also known as “Jam Master Jay,” a member of the famed hip hop group Run-DMC.  Both defendants were charged with murder while engaged in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy and firearm-related murder for the fatal shooting of Mizell inside the victim’s recording studio in Hollis, Queens. The verdict followed a four-week trial before United States District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall.  When sentenced, Jordan and Washington face a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the verdict. 

“More than two decades after they killed Jason Mizell in his recording studio, Jordan and Washington have finally been held accountable for their cold-blooded crime driven by greed and revenge,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “That the victim, professionally known as Jam Master Jay, was a hip hop icon and Run-DMC’s music was born in Hollis, Queens, in this very district, and beloved by so many, adds to the tragedy of a life senselessly cut short.  I thank the jurors for their service, and I commend our prosecutors, the NYPD detectives, both active and retired, and the Special Agents and investigators from the ATF and my office, for their relentless pursuit of justice for the victim, his family, and the community.”

Mr. Peace also expressed his thanks to the NYPD Intelligence Division, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Queens County District Attorney’s Office, and Dominican Republic National Police for their assistance.

“Today’s guilty verdicts provides proof that the passage of time provides no safe harbor to those who commit murder.  For us in ATF, our memory is long, and our resolve is steadfast.  We have no tolerance for those who would take a life, and we are committed to seeing justice done.  We thank our partners who are a part of ATF NY Joint Firearms Task Force -Long Island, NYPD, U.S. Marshals and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern District of NY who share the same commitment and resolve.  We offer our hope to the family, friends, and fans of Jason Mizell that today’s verdict gives some closure,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge DeVito.

“In every homicide investigation, NYPD detectives are meticulous, patient, and tireless in their efforts to help secure guilty verdicts like these rendered today,” stated NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “A cold case is never a forgotten case. In the decades since Mr. Mizell was brutally murdered, the greatest detectives in the world followed every lead until arrests could be made, and a solid case could be brought to our partners in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Mizell’s loved ones – who long-expected and deserved justice to be delivered – were patient, too, and we hope the jury’s decisions today advance a small measure of closure.”

As proven at trial, between the 1990s and 2002, separate from his music career, Mizell was involved in arranging for the sale of kilogram-quantities of cocaine in the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere. In August 2002, Mizell acquired approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine on consignment from a supplier based in California. The cocaine was intended to be distributed in Maryland by Washington, Jordan and other co-conspirators. A dispute between Washington and one of the co-conspirators in Baltimore resulted in Mizell cutting Washington and Jordan out of the Maryland drug deal worth almost $200,000. Following this betrayal, Washington and Jordan continued in the larger narcotics conspiracy until they could ultimately cut out Jason Mizell by murdering him on October 30, 2002.

On Wednesday, October 30, 2002, Mizell was present at his recording studio, “24/7,” located on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, playing a video game with a friend and reviewing paperwork with his business manager.  At approximately 7:30 p.m., the defendants’ co-conspirator opened a locked fire escape exit door allowing Washington and Jordan to enter the building without being seen by Mizell.  Jordan, who was the victim’s godson, and Washington went upstairs to the recording studio where Jordan greeted Mizell, who was sitting on the couch and initially appeared happy to see him.  Things turned quickly, with Jordan pointing a gun at Mizell and firing two shots at close range.  One shot hit Mizell in the head, killing him instantly.  The second shot struck Mizell’s friend in the leg.  Mizell’s business manager tried to flee and was met by Washington, who pointed a gun at her face and demanded that she lay on the floor. The three defendants fled the scene.  The defendants variously made admissions to associates implicating themselves in the fatal shooting or bragging about being the shooter.  For example, a witness who lived in a residence owned by Jordan’s father, testified that he overheard Jordan say that if Mizell “were still alive he would kill him again.”  Washington’s former girlfriend testified that several days after the murder, he admitted killing Mizell. Additionally at trial, Jordan was identified as the shooter by the individual who was shot in the leg, and Mizell’s business manager identified Washington as being present in the recording studio during the murder and pointing a firearm at her and ordering her to get down on the floor.

The co-conspirator who allowed the defendants to enter through the fire escape door will be tried separately for his role in Mizell’s murder in January 2026 and remains innocent until proven guilty.  Jordan is also charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine distribution and will be tried on those counts at a later date.

Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell, Mark E. Misorek and Miranda Gonzalez are in charge of the prosecution with the assistance of Paralegal Specialists Anna November and Samantha Schroder.

The Defendants:

KARL JORDAN, JR. (also known as “Little D” and “Noid”)
Age:  40
Hollis, Queens

RONALD WASHINGTON (also known as “Tinard”)
Age:  59
Hollis, Queens

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


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated February 27, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime