A new report claims that police are closer to catching the person responsible for killing Jam Master Jay 10 years ago, but they’re appealing to the public for help.
In a NYDailyNews report, investigators claim they believe they’ve identified at least one of the two men involved in the murder of JMJ, real name Jason Mizell:
“We never really had a good lead,” the case’s head detective, Vincent Santangelo, told the Daily News. “Nobody would or nobody could tell us the who or what. We’re still looking for that person.”
Law enforcement sources, who at one time worked the case, said the people inside Mizell’s 24/7 recording studio provided a play-by-play account of the Oct. 30, 2002 murder — but everyone stopped short in identifying the gunman or his sidekick.
The 37-year-old turntable wizard — who stayed anchored near the hardscrabble Hollis neighborhood where he grew up — arrived at the studio just hours before the killing.
After packing some equipment for a show in Philadelphia the next day, Mizell got a bite to eat and took a seat on a couch at the rear of the studio. His pal, Uriel (Tony) Rincon, sat next to him and the pair began playing a video game.
Mizell placed a .45-caliber pistol on the arm rest.
A short time later, Mizell’s assistant, Lydia High, entered the cramped studio to go over his itinerary. High’s brother, Randy Allen – Mizell’s longtime pal and business partner – soon came in with two friends, but they shut themselves in the control room at the front of the studio.
Everyone had been in the room for less than an hour when a man dressed in black, possibly wearing a hat, stepped in and gave Mizell a hug about 7:30 p.m. But after the short embrace, the man pulled out a .40-caliber handgun.
“Oh, s—-,” was all a witness heard Mizell say before a shot rang out.
The bullet pierced Rincon’s left leg. Then, a second shot hit Mizell in the head, killing him before he hit the floor.
The killer and his accomplice, who was standing outside the door, both sprinted out of the two-story building and disappeared.
Santangelo, a 22-year vet, and his team spent years chasing scores of leads that sometimes brought him to cities across the country. No arrests have been made, but Santangelo believes that could change with the help of a good tipster — who can collect a $60,000 reward if there’s a conviction.
But the sources, who spoke to the News last week, said they’ve already fingered one of Mizell’s killers, but making an arrest has been hampered by reluctant witnesses and bad press.
“We just never had enough to make it stick,” said one of the sources.
Investigators suspect career criminal Ronald Washington was either the lookout or the gunman. The hit was likely ordered after Mizell — who owed up to $500,000 to the IRS — refused to settle a decade-old drug debt with his old friend Curtis Scoon, the sources said.
Washington — who is serving a 17-year stint for armed robbery — allegedly confessed his role in the killing to a former girlfriend, authorities have said.
“She was credible. She was a witness who we vetted,” said one source. “We had enough to bring it to a judge.”
High, who allegedly buzzed the killers into Mizell’s studio, said Washington was one of the killers, but she later recanted.
“She (also) changed her story three or four times after,” another source said.
Neither Washington nor Scoon, who now lives in Georgia, was ever charged.
“As time goes by, he becomes less and less of a suspect,” said Scoon’s lawyer, Marvyn Kornberg. “He’s moved on with his life.”
The open case has left Mizell’s family shattered.
“The past 10 years has been really hard,” said the jam master’s brother, Marvin Thompson, 57. “There’s still so many unanswered questions. … I pray that someone will step up and close this case and give us some peace.”
Thompson, too, is convinced that Washington was one of Mizell’s killers.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “But the fact that he’s in jail … I guess that’s some kind of closure.”
Mizell’s 77-year-old mother, Connie Mizell-Perry, said she believes karma will eventually sneak up on the wanted men.
Speaking from her North Carolina home, she had one thing to say to the killers: “One of these days, you’re going to think you have it made and someone is going to tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Gotcha!’”
It’s a damn shame that police have failed to catch Jam Master Jay’s killer but we shouldn’t be surprised considering Tupac and Biggie’s murders have never been solved either.
But we did find it interesting that they name-dropped Curtis Scoon in the report, but failed to detail any evidence tying him to Mizell. You can’t just be creating “drug debts” out of the blue, and any real street dude isn’t gonna let ten years go by without settling a debt.
Scoon has been on our radar for nearly ten years too, not for any involvement with Jam Master Jay’s murder, but for his work as a writer and consultant on major projects like the TV show “American Gangster” and the book “Queens Reigns Supreme” which detailed how hip-hop and the Queens drug trade intersected. In the last year or so Scoon has gathered a large following who have become devotees of his #ScoonTV project — a series of tweets that follow his experience from JMJ murder suspect to his current work in film and TV. Brutally candid, Scoon has won acclaim for clowning many of the big names in entertainment — and this morning wasn’t any different as he reacted to the Daily News story.
Hit the flip to read his tweets.