The third man charged with murder over the death of Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay in 2002 will plead not guilty to the crime.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York announced that they had charged Jay Bryant, 49, with murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and other drug-trafficking counts in relation to the Hip-Hop star’s death.
Jam Master Jay, real name Jason Mizell, was shot in the head in his studio in Queens, New York, on 30 October 2002 at the age of 37.
According to the indictment, Bryant was already in custody awaiting trial on unrelated federal drugs charges.
In 2020, two other men, Ronald Washington, and Karl Jordan Jr., were charged with the musician’s murder. They previously pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial in January 2024.
Bryant’s lawyer César de Castro said that his client would also plead not guilty.
“Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing,” he said. “Proving it at trial is another matter.”
Back in 2020, prosecutors alleged that Jay was killed over a soured drug deal. In a letter filed with the court on Tuesday, they claimed that Bryant, Washington, and Jordan Jr. entered the recording studio that evening and fled after the shooting.
Prosecutors stated that Bryant was spotted going into the building, and his DNA was recovered at the scene of the crime.
Run-DMC, also featuring Joseph ‘Run’ Simmons and Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, disbanded after Jay’s death.