Feds could seek death penalty for two accused killers of Jam Master Jay

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Legendary hip hop artist Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC attends a handprint ceremony during the group's induction into the Hollywood RockWalk February 25, 2002 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, California. - Vince Bucci/Getty Images North America/TNS

NEW YORK — Federal authorities could seek the death penalty for the two men accused of killing Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors said they had discussed the move with defense attorneys representing Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan Jr., 36, the duo accused of busting into Jam Master Jay’s studio on Oct. 30, 2002.

Jordan was charged with pulling the trigger at point-blank range, while Washington pointed his gun at others in the room, authorities said.

“We had discussed our capital case memorandum which the government is prepared to submit,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Artie McConnell in the Friday phone hearing on the case.

But Washington’s defense attorney told the Daily News it was too early to think about the death penalty.

“Still in America they might have to prove he might have done it,” said Susan Kellman.

Federal prosecutors file “capital case memoranda” in any case that is death penalty-eligible, though it does not mean they are necessarily seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York — where Washington and Jordan Jr. are being tried — will issue a recommendation on whether or not to seek the death penalty, but the final decision is up to the U.S. Attorney General.

Before Friday’s hearing, Washington was heard over the phone asking Jordan Jr. how he was doing.

“Not doing good,” Jordan responded.

“Hey, what floor you on?” Washington asked, referring to floors at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where the two men are being held.

A lawyer for Jordan Jr. then cut off the conversation, and warned the men that reporters were on the line.

Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, was 37 when he was killed. The Queens native was part of the influential Run-DMC hip-hop group that rose to fame in the early 1980s with hits like “It’s Like That” and the crossover hit “Walk This Way” with rock band Aerosmith.

Prosecutors said he was killed over a drug deal. He had acquired 10 kilograms of cocaine that he was planning on selling with Washington, but cut Washington out of the deal at the last minute, according to the feds.

Another man, Uriel Rincon, was also shot that night at the studio.


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