Eyewitness to killing of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay tells jury: ‘Then I see Jay just fall’
Over a 15-year span, Uriel Rincon consistently denied recognizing the assailant behind the notorious killing of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay in the rap star’s recording studio. However, in a courtroom revelation on Wednesday, Rincon, who himself suffered injuries in the gunfire, unequivocally pointed to Karl Jordan Jr. as the culprit in one of hip-hop’s most shocking homicides.
Recounting the tragic episode, Rincon vividly described how Jordan approached Jay, engaging in a peculiar, half-hearted handshake just before the eruption of gunfire. As chaos ensued, Rincon, engrossed in his ringing phone, glanced up only to witness Jay’s sudden and devastating collapse. Despite Rincon’s attempts to tend to his own wounds while checking on Jay’s well-being, the DJ remained unresponsive.
In a harrowing account of the shooting, Rincon detailed Washington’s role at the studio door, instructing another witness to take cover on the ground. Rincon’s testimony marked the commencement of the long-awaited trial, occurring over 22 years after the death of the influential Jam Master Jay, a pivotal figure in Run-DMC, the 1980s powerhouse that propelled rap into mainstream prominence with hits like “It’s Tricky” and their rendition of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”
Both Jordan and Ronald Washington, accused of being an accomplice, adamantly pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Prosecutors assert that Jay’s murder stemmed from their plan for a cocaine deal with the rap star, a deal that was allegedly jeopardized.
Washington’s defense argues that the authorities lacked concrete evidence and constructed a case held together only by “tape and glue,” while Jordan’s attorneys contend he was at his then-girlfriend’s residence during the time of the shooting.
During questioning, Rincon admitted to his initial confusion and fear, explaining his reluctance to identify the gunman earlier. He finally disclosed the names of Jordan and Washington to authorities in 2017, citing a desire to provide closure to Jay’s surviving family.
The trial, which commenced on Monday, witnessed a ruling on Tuesday by Brooklyn Federal Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall, prohibiting the use of Jordan’s rap lyrics—containing first-person accounts of violence and drug dealing—as evidence in the trial, as sought by prosecutors.