An unidentified witness who is having second thoughts about testifying in the trial of Jam Master Jay’s alleged killers could end up in prison for two decades. Prosecutors fear one of the upcoming witnesses may refuse to testify and warn they will bring criminal charges against anyone who changes their mind.
“The government is prepared to bring federal criminal charges of obstruction of justice against this witness should he refuse to testify – and any other witness who refuses to testify at trial – and to seek a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years,” United States Attorney Breon Peace explained.
Prosecutors have 25 civilian witnesses lined up for the trial, as well as 13 law enforcement witnesses who will testify.
Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington are charged with the 2002 murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay. Recent court proceedings have shed light on the intricate details surrounding the case.
Uriel Rincon, another victim injured on the night of the murder, testified, identifying Jordan as the shooter. Rincon’s testimony is pivotal, marking him as the first eyewitness to directly link Jordan to the crime, with Washington accused of complicity.
Rincon recounted the moments leading to the shooting, describing a deceptive gesture of friendship before the fatal shots were fired.
In addition to Rincon’s testimony, prosecutors have presented evidence suggesting Jordan’s admission to the murder in conversations with a witness, further bolstering their case against the defendants.
They depicted a scenario where Jordan, alongside Washington, was allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking with the late DJ, hinting at a motive tied to a drug deal gone sour.
This narrative is supported by claims of Jam Master Jay planning to distribute cocaine with the accused, a plan derailed when a dealer in Baltimore refused to work with Washington, allegedly leading to the exclusion of Jordan and Washington from a lucrative deal.
The prosecution argues that this exclusion served as the motive for the murder, suggesting it was executed with the help of a third defendant, Jay Bryant, who will be tried separately.
The trial began with the prosecutors arguing that greed and revenge were the driving forces behind the murder. They allege that Jordan and Washington were cut out of a significant drug deal by Jam Master Jay, leading to the fatal shooting in what was described as an “ambush” and “execution.”
This argument is juxtaposed with defense claims challenging the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses and suggesting the lack of conclusive evidence directly linking the defendants to the crime. Despite these defenses, both Jordan and Washington face a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted, with prosecutors opting not to seek the death penalty.