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Third Suspect Indicted in Pioneering DJ Jam Master Jay's Murder Case

A third suspect has been indicted in the murder of rap legend Jam Master Jay.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have filed murder charges against Jay Bryant, a Queens man, in
connection with the 2002 killing of pioneering hip-hop DJ Jam Master Jay, also known as Jason Mizell. This brings the total number of individuals accused of involvement in the slaying to three.

Bryant, 49, who was already in custody on a separate drug-related indictment, faces charges of murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and other drug-trafficking counts. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled, and his attorney, César de Castro, stated that Bryant intends to plead not guilty.

De Castro expressed skepticism about the indictment, highlighting the distinction between securing an indictment in a secret grand jury and proving the charges in court. He emphasized the importance of meeting the burden of proof during the trial.

Jam Master Jay achieved global fame and admiration for his musical contributions to the pioneering rap group Run-DMC, which also included Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels. The group emerged in the 1980s and played a crucial role in shaping the sound and style of hip-hop music, blending rap with rock and showcasing a distinctive street fashion aesthetic.

In August 2020, New York City and federal authorities announced murder charges against two other men, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, attributing the fatal shooting to a cocaine deal gone awry. Prosecutors alleged that Jordan and Washington "executed" Mizell, 37, after he attempted to exclude them from a multistate narcotics transaction involving several kilograms of cocaine. Court documents revealed that Mizell had received approximately 10 kilos of cocaine on consignment from a Maryland supplier just months before his murder.

According to the filing, Jordan and Washington were initially supposed to be Mizell's partners in the drug deal, but a dispute arose. The nature of the dispute was not specified, but Mizell's threat to exclude them triggered a fatal chain of events.

Jordan, 39, and Washington, 59, have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in January 2024.

Prosecutors allege that on October 20, 2002, Bryant, Washington and Jordan entered Mizell's recording studio on Merrick Boulevard in Queens. Washington allegedly brandished a gun and ordered an individual in the studio to lie on the floor. Jordan approached Mizell and fired two close-range shots, one of which fatally struck him in the head.

Seth D. DuCharme, the acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, characterized the incident as a cold-blooded murder, stating that the perpetrators "walked in and murdered him in cold blood" when Jordan and Washington were initially charged in 2020.

According to the indictment, Bryant was observed entering the building just before the shooting, and clothing containing his DNA was found at the crime scene. The indictment further claims that Bryant confessed to participating in the murder, even going so far as to inform someone that he was the shooter. However, prosecutors dispute this assertion, believing that Jordan fired the fatal shot.

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