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The trial of two men accused of murdering Hip-Hop icon and Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay over a drug deal began in a federal court in Brooklyn.

On Monday (Jan. 29), the anticipated trial of two men accused of the murder of former Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay began at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, with opening statements from the prosecution and the defense. Ronald Washington, 59, and Karl Jordan Jr., 40, are alleged to have killed Jam Master Jay aka Jason Mizell inside of a recording studio in Queens, New York, on Oct. 30, 2002. In opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda Gonzalez stated that the two men did so after being cut out of a drug deal that Jam Master Jay was involved in.

“They were left with nothing,” Gonzalez said, according to Reuters. The deal was estimated to pull in $200,000 after Jam Master Jay had met with a cocaine distributor from the Midwest with the narcotics slated to be sold in Baltimore, with Washington and Jordan set to take part – until they were told they were out. “It was an ambush. An execution. And you will learn that it was motivated by greed and by revenge,” Gonzalez continued, promising jurors they would hear from witnesses who claimed that the men bragged about the shooting as well as Tony Rincon and Lydia High who were also in the studio that night.

“Why bite the hand that feeds you?” argued Ezra Spilke, the attorney for Washington in his opening remarks, citing “aging memories” as the reason for his client being in that position. If convicted of the charges, both men face a maximum life sentence in prison with a mandatory minimum of 20 years. The courtroom audience was filled with Jam Master Jay’s loved ones, including DJ Hurricane. The trial is expected to last four weeks.

The murder of Jam Master Jay had been unsolved until authorities in 2020 arrested Washington and Jordan with a 10-count federal indictment. Both men pleaded not guilty. A third man, Jay Bryant, was arrested last year after DNA evidence collected from the scene and surveillance video captured him entering the studio at the time. His trial will take place in 2026.

Trial For Alleged Killers Of Jam Master Jay Finally Begins  was originally published on