News

Prosecutors name suspect in death of hip-hop legend

Ernie Naspretto and John Marzulli
New York Daily News (MCT)

NEW YORK - Federal authorities the first time have publicly identified one of the gunmen allegedly responsible for the unsolved murder of hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay, the New York Daily News has learned.

There have been many theories about who killed the founding member of Run-DMC, whose real name was Jason Mizell, in his Queens music studio on Oct. 30, 2002.

But earlier this month, federal prosecutors implicated Ronald ``Tinard'' Washington in Mizell's murder in a letter to Judge Nina Gershon.

The judge was presiding over Washington's armed robbery trial in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Prosecutors Sean Haran and Adam Abensohn contend that Washington, 39, and an unnamed associate entered the studio and Washington "pointed his gun at those present in the studio, ordered them on the ground and provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell," according to the letter.

The information was revealed because Washington was mulling taking the stand in his robbery trial and prosecutors were obligated to turn over whatever uncharged crimes they planned to cross-examine him about, including Mizell's murder.

Washington confessed his role in the Jam Master Jay slaying to his girlfriend Daynia McDonald, as well as the 1995 murder of Randy ``Big Stretch'' Walker, who was reportedly the best friend of rapper Tupac Shakur, prosecutors said.

Washington, who was convicted of pulling six commercial robberies and faces life in prison, has not been charged with Mizell's murder.

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