Third Person Indicted for 2002 Murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay

This week, federal prosecutors charged New York native Jay Bryant with the murder of Jason William Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC. Bryant, 49, was already in custody in Brooklyn for a separate drug crime when prosecutors made a new revelation regarding Mizell’s killing that took place more than two decades ago.

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Officially indicting Bryant for murder and other drug-trafficking offenses, prosecutors alleged that he was seen entering the recording studio where the 37-year-old Mizell was murdered in October 2002 just before the shooting occurred. While his specific motives are still unknown, clothes found at the scene of the crime in Bryant’s hometown of Queens, New York, contained Bryant’s DNA, according to Pitchfork.

In 2020, the first two suspects in Mizell’s murder were arrested and charged. Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, who also were both hit with charges relating to drug trafficking, pleaded not guilty. While it’s unclear when Bryant’s case will go to court, Jordan Jr. and Washington’s trial is scheduled to begin in January 2024.

Bryant’s arrest comes just a month after Run-DMC’s remaining members Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels performed their final show ever at New York’s Madison Square Garden in April.

“Run-DMC is over,” McDaniels said about their send-off. “The only way Run-DMC gets back together is if the Beatles get back together… Cause it’s time for Run to go be Paul McCartney and me to be John Lennon. We done did what we could do.”

Both McDaniels and Simmons plan on doing solo projects in the near future. Run-DMC has not put out a studio album since 2001, a year before Mizell’s demise. Regarded as one of the foundational groups in hip-hop history, and celebrated for their contributions to the genre at the Grammys in February, Mizell’s murder will unfortunately leave a tragic stain on the shining story of Run-DMC.

Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images

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