Feds won’t pursue death penalty in Jam Master Jay slay case

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The two men accused of killing hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay in an execution-style hit in Queens in 2002 will dodge a possible death sentence if convicted, court papers show.

Federal prosecutors say in the documents, which were filed over the weekend, that they won’t seek the death penalty if the pair is found guilty at their upcoming trial.

Karl Jordan Jr., 36, is accused of fatally shooting the Run-DMC DJ at his recording studio over a drug deal gone bad. Ronald Washington is charged with conspiring with Jordan to carry out the hit, although he didn’t pull the trigger himself, the feds say.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland “has authorized and directed” Brooklyn federal prosecutors “not to seek the death penalty against defendants Karl Jordan, Jr. and Ronald Washington,” prosecutors wrote in a brief letter to a federal judge Saturday.

Run-DMC pictured together.
Jam Master Jay, seen at the center in 1988, formed one-third of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC.
© Lynn Goldsmith/AS400 DB/Corbi

Instead, the suspects could receive up to life in prison if convicted.

A pre-trial hearing in the case was scheduled for Monday but adjourned before anything happened. A trial date is pending.

Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, formed the music trio Run-DMC with Darry McDaniels and Joseph “Run” Simmons, the brother of Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons.

Jam Master Jay was murdered in a recording studio in Queens.
Jam Master Jay was murdered in a recording studio in Queens.
Michael Ochs Archives

Lawyers for Jordan and Washington did not immediately return requests for comment.

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