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Jam Master Jay suspect named
Federal prosecutors have alleged that a low-level career bandit may hold the key to one of the more high-profile mysteries of the hip-hop world: Who killed Jam Master Jay?
In court papers, the prosecutors identify Ronald "Tenad" Washington as
the armed accomplice of a second unidentified gunman who shot Jay,
whose real name was Jason Mizell, inside his New York recording studio in
2002. They say Washington also is a suspect in the 1995 fatal shooting
of Randy "Stretch" Walker, a close associate of 2Pac.
The papers were filed earlier this month in the federal trial of
Washington, who was convicted in a string of armed robberies that occurred
just after Jay was killed. Prosecutors declined on Tuesday to discuss the
A Mizell family spokeswoman welcomed news that authorities had for the
first time publicly identified a suspect.
"We're relieved there's some information coming out, although we
understand that it's not the full story," said the spokeswoman, Fern Yates.
Washington, 45, has denied any connection to either the Mizell or
Walker cases. In a sworn statement, he claimed hostile detectives had
hounded him about the slaying of his "childhood friend" Mizell and other
Washington's criminal record dates to 1982, and includes convictions
for assault, drugs and grand larceny, authorities said.
During the 1980s, Mizell made rap music history working the turntables
as Joe "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels rapped on hits like
"King of Rock," "It's Tricky" and a top-40 remake of Aerosmith's "Walk
Mizell was gunned down Oct. 30, 2002, at his 24/7 recording studio.
According to a performer there, a man wearing a black sweat suit appeared,
embraced Mizell, pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and opened fire.
A first round missed Mizell and injured another person. A second
bullet, this one fired from point-blank range, entered the left side of
Mizell's head. The shooter vanished.
For his part, Washington "pointed his gun at those present in the
studio, ordered them to get on the ground and provided cover for his
associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell," prosecutors said in court papers.
While being sought for questioning in the Mizell case, Washington fled
and lived in various motels, authorities said. He held up several
fast-food restaurants and other businesses with a pellet gun before his
arrest in December 2002.
Prosecutors claim Washington was among three men involved in a fatal
car chase with another hip-hop figure -- Stretch -- on Nov. 30, 1995. The
suspect allegedly fired a gun out a car window, killing Walker and
causing his minivan to crash. Stretch had performed with the group Live Squad and
also produced several songs for 2Pac, victim of an unsolved murder in 1996 in Las Vegas.
-- The Associated Press
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