Skip to content

Jam Master Jay murder suspect will get separate trial from other two accused killers

Jay Bryant, who was charged in Jam Master Jay’s 2002 murder.
Jay Bryant, who was charged in Jam Master Jay’s 2002 murder. (Facebook)

One of the three men charged in the 2002 Queens killing of hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay will get a separate trial from the other two accused killers.

Brooklyn Federal Court Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall ruled Friday that because the suspects expect to point fingers at each other, jurors could be faced with the choice of finding one of them guilty to find the other innocent.

Suspect Jay Bryant, 49, who was indicted in Brooklyn Federal Court in May for the Run-DMC icon’s murder, made the request to sever the trials.

He was busted nearly two years after the arrests of Ronald “Tinard” Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., who await a January trial in Brooklyn Federal Court for the slaying.

According to federal prosecutors, Bryant told someone he was the shooter, he was seen entering Jay’s Merrick Blvd. studio in Jamaica, Queens, on Oct. 30, 2002, and his DNA was found on a piece of clothing left at the scene.

But the feds don’t believe Bryant was the triggerman, and expect to present evidence at trial that Jordan fired the fatal shots.

NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: (FILE PHOTO) Jason Mizell, "Jam Master Jay" of Run DMC, arrives at Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Guy Osery's "The Greatest Party Of All Time" presented by RBK at Cipriani August 29, 2002 in New York City. Jam Master Jay, whose given name is Jason Mizell, was shot and killed inside a Queens, New York studio October 30, 2002, according to a group representive. Police, who say two unidentified men were shot around 7:30 p.m. local time, have confirmed that one man was dead on arrival at a local hospital. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Jason Mizell, “Jam Master Jay” of Run DMC, arrives at Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Guy Osery’s “The Greatest Party Of All Time” presented by RBK at Cipriani August 29, 2002 in New York City. (Getty Images)

“The the jury will be presented with three irreconcilable theories of the case, one in which Mr. Bryant is innocent of any involvement in the murder,” wrote Bryant’s lawyer, Cesar de Castro, “one in which he was the shooter and acted independently of Messrs. Jordan and Washington, and one in which he participated in the murder albeit not as the shooter.”

Federal prosecutors had challenged that notion, but the judge pointed out that the suspects would likely call witnesses in their own defense who would point the fingers at their co-defendants.

“Bryant argues that ‘there is no plausible scenario’ in which his co-defendants do not turn to the third-party witness their claims of innocence. And at argument, Bryant invited the court to ‘read the tea leaves’ on this issue,” DeArcy Hall wrote on Friday. “I have.”

The judge continued, “Upon a searching review of the record, it is clear that at least Jordan has sufficiently telegraphed that he intends to call the third-party witness to whom Bryant made his alleged admission.”

Prosecutors have said that Washington and Jordan wanted revenge on Jay, real name Jason Mizell, for cutting them out of a 10-kilo cocaine deal.