Two men have been indicted over the 2002 killing of hip hop artist Jam Master Jay, which had been one of New York City’s most notorious unsolved killings, two law enforcement officials said.

One of them identified the suspects as Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan. Federal prosecutors are expected to announce the charges at a news conference.

Washington, who had reportedly been living on a couch at Jam master’s home in the days before his death, was publicly named as a possible suspect or witness as far back as 2007. He is currently serving a federal prison sentence stemming from a string of robberies he committed while on the run from police after Jam Master’s death.

In court papers filed at the time, prosecutors alleged that Washington waved a handgun around and ordered people in Jay’s Queens recording studio to lie on the ground while another man killed him on October 30 2002.

Washington “provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell”, prosecutors wrote.

Jason “Jay” Mizell, known professionally as Jam Master Jay, was a member of 1980s hip-hop pioneers Run-DMC, with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniel. Their hits included It’s Tricky and the Aerosmith remake collaboration Walk This Way.

Jam Master was shot once in the head with a .40-calibre bullet by a masked assailant at his studio in Hollis, the Queens neighbourhood where he grew up, police said at the time. He left behind a wife and three children.

Police identified at least four people in the studio with Jam Master, including the two armed gunmen. The city and Jay’s friends offered more than 60,000 dollars in reward money but witnesses refused to come forward and the case languished.

Jay’s acquaintance with Washington upset his family. Before sleeping on Jay’s couch, Washington had been linked to the fatal 1995 shooting of Randy Walker, a close associate of the late Tupac Shakur.

 

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