The family of late Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay and his former bandmate reacted to the news on Monday (Aug. 17) that two men have been indicted in the DJ’s long-unsolved 2002 killing. “First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who has reached out in support of our family today. We appreciate your kind thoughts and words. Upon hearing this news, we have mixed emotions; we truly hope that these indictments are a solid step towards justice being served in the murder of Jay,” wrote the family in a statement.
The comments came after news broke that two men have been indicted in the slaying of the beloved member of the pioneering hip-hop group, which had long been one of New York City’s most notorious unsolved killings. The suspects were identified as Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan, 36, and both men were charged with murder while engaged in drug trafficking in a 10-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Monday.
“We realize that there are other families out there who have lingering pain who continue to wait for their own closure, and we pray that this case gives them hope,” the family’s statement continued. “In spite of all the tragedies we’ve seen this year alone, we take comfort in our family, our faith and in time’s ability to heal all. We can only hope that this news brings awareness to the fact that Black lives do matter. We ask that everyone please respect our family’s privacy as this case moves forward through the judicial system. Thank you.”
Washington, who had reportedly been living on a couch at Jay’s (born Jason Mizell) home in the days before his death, was publicly named as a possible suspect or witness as far back as 2007. He is currently serving a federal prison sentence stemming from a string of robberies he committed while on the run from police after Jay’s death. According to The New York Times, Jordan, who was taken into custody on Sunday, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and Washington is expected to be arraigned later in the week; both men face minimum sentences of 20 years in prison if they are convicted.
“Although this latest news opens up a lot of painful memories for all of us who knew and loved Jam Master Jay, I’m relieved to hear that two suspects have been arrested and charged with his murder,” bandmate Darryl “DMC” McDaniels said in a statement. “It’s been a difficult 18 years not having him around while knowing that his murderers were not yet indicted for this heinous crime. I commend NYPD, NYC Detectives, Federal Agents and all the law enforcement who were involved in this case, for not giving up and working to bring justice for Jay. I realize this is a first step in the judicial process, but I hope Jay can finally Rest in Peace. My love to Jay’s wife Terri, his sons, his family, his friends, and all of his fans. #JMJForever”
In court papers filed at the time, prosecutors alleged that Washington waved a handgun around and ordered people in Jay’s Queens recording studio to lie on the ground while another man killed him on Oct. 30, 2002. Washington “provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell,” prosecutors wrote.
Jam Master Jay, was a member of pioneering 1980s hip-hop trio with Joseph “Run” Simmons and McDaniel. Their hits included “It’s Tricky,” “Christmas in Hollis” and the Aerosmith remake collaboration “Walk This Way.” Jay was shot once in the head with a .40-caliber bullet by a masked assailant at his studio in Hollis, the Queens neighborhood where he grew up, police said at the time.
Police identified at least four people in the studio with Jay, including the two armed gunmen. The city and Jay’s friends offered more than $60,000 in reward money, but witnesses refused to come forward and the case languished.