Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr.: Where Are the Killers Now?

Image Credit: The Citizen

Run-DMC’s DJ, Jam Master Jay, was an established hip-hop legend who sadly met an unexpected end in 2002 when he was killed in his Jamaica, Queens recording studio. Although there were six witnesses at the crime scene, it still took decades to charge the perpetrators — Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Death by Fame: Off the Record’ and Netflix’s ‘Remastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?’ provide an in-depth account of the entire tragedy and the investigation that followed.

Ronald Washington Was Jam’s Childhood Friend While Karl Jordan Jr. Was His Godson

Hailing from Hollis, Queens, both Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. were close acquaintances of the legendary Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. In fact, while the former was this hip-hop icon’s godson, Ronald was known to be his closest childhood friend, someone who had been by his side through thick and thin. Out of the two, the former had previously already faced some serious allegations concerning his alleged involvement in the 1995 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur’s associate Randy “Stretch” Walker, yet it led nowhere. As for the relationship between Ronald, Karl, and Jam, they were pretty tight until August 2002. Apart from his successful music career, Jay reportedly also dabbled in an illegal side business between the 1990s and 2002 — distributing cocaine.

In August 2002, the DJ had reportedly acquired about 10 kgs of cocaine from a California-based supplier in order to be sold in the Maryland area. It was a lucrative drug deal worth roughly $200,000, with Karl and Ronaldo, alongside a few other co-conspirators, being given the opportunity to have their cut from it by helping Jam distribute the drug in Maryland. During the assignment, Ronald, also known as Tinard, got into a heated argument with another one of the co-conspirators in Baltimore. After assessing the situation, Jam made the tough decision to cut Ronald and Jordan, who also went by the names of Little D and Noid, out of the Maryland drug deal.

Feeling betrayed, Ronald and Karl apparently devised a plan to get rid of Jam Master Jay in a fit of rage on October 30, 2002. Vengefully, per court records, the two allegedly entered his 24/7 active recording studio on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, from a fire escape, where a co-conspirator reportedly helped unlock the door, around 7:30 pm. At the time, Jam was busy playing a video game with a friend and was going through some paperwork with his manager. As Ronald and Karl entered the studio, Jam was happy to see them and greeted them.

However, sooner rather than later, Karl reportedly pulled out a gun and pointed it toward Jam before pulling the trigger on his head twice from close range, killing him there and then. He even shot one of Jam’s friends in the leg. Amidst this chaos, the latter’s business manager attempted to flee the scene unharmed but was ordered to stay put and lay on the floor by Ronald, all the while a gun was pointed at her face. For years, the killers were able to stay out of trouble despite the presence of several witnesses at the crime scene.

Yet then came 2007, when Ronald stood on trial for his reported involvement in a series of armed robberies, and that is when he was first listed as a possible suspect in the murder of Run DMC’s DJ. When Karl was later questioned about the case, he said he was at his girlfriend’s place at the time of the killing. In his defense, his lawyer also focused on the fact Jam and Karl’s father were lifelong friends, making it highly unlikely that the latter would do anything to cause his godfather harm. At the same time, he was facing charges related to guns and cocaine as well. Nevertheless, both Ronald and Karl maintained their innocence and claimed they had nothing to do with anything.

Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. Have Been Convicted

But in 2020, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. were arrested for the gruesome murder of the hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. The latter was the shooter, while Ronald was the orchestrator of the killing, according to the testaments of some witnesses. During their trial, several witnesses had come forward and testified against this duo. Among the witnesses testifying that he overheard Karl talk about killing Jam again if he were still alive during the conversation. Even Ronald’s former lover came to the stand and said that a few days after Jam’s death, Ronald had admitted to killing him. Karl was also charged with a count of cocaine distribution at the time.

As for the co-conspirator, Jay Bryant, who unlocked the fire escape door and let Ronald and Karl into the recording studio on the fateful evening, he was scheduled to be tried at a later date separately. Though when prosecutors claimed they could prove Jay’s presence at the recording studio on October 30, 2002, his charge was upgraded to murder in May 2023. After more than two long decades, in late February 2024, a Brooklyn jury found Karl and Ronald guilty of killing Jam Master Jay, an important member of the famous hip-hop group Run DMC.

Upon getting convicted by a federal jury in front of United States District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall, these two guilty parties now face sentencing, where they could be handed down a minimum of 20 years behind bars or the maximum of life imprisonment with a mandetory term of 20 years. Jacqueline Gonzalez, Karl’s mother has since expressed her disagreement with this verdict by stating, “I just want to say that my son is innocent. My son had nothing to do with this crime, nothing at all.” Therefore, today, Ronald and Karl remain detained while awaiting their not-yet scheduled sentencing. It turns out their motive was the drugs.

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