Five years after the shocking murder of legendary DJ Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC, theories and emotions continue to swirl. They’ve heated up in recent months and culminate this week, as MTV News presents Randy Allen, one of the witnesses to the murder, speaking with Marvin Thompson, Jay’s brother, about the tragedy for the first time in five years.
While police have not named a suspect in the murder and no arrests have been made, news about evidence and motives continues to emerge.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
As the first installment of a three-part series rolling out this week culminating in the first conversation between Jay’s brother and Randy Allen, the DJ’s former business partner, since the murder, MTV News has compiled a timeline of the events surrounding the murder.
October 30, 2002, 6:00 p.m.: Jay arrives at his 24/7 Studio in Queens, New York, to work on some material for Rusty Waters, one of the acts signed to his label. Waiting for things to get started, he sits on a couch in the studio’s lounge and plays a few games of “Madden 2002″ with his friend Uriel “Tony” Rincon, 25. According to Rincon, Jay brings out a pistol and places it on the couch next to them, which makes the studio’s receptionist and Jay’s assistant, Lydia High, nervous. She asks him to put it away when she comes in a short time later to discuss Jay’s schedule. Randy Allen, a member of Rusty Waters and a longtime friend of Jay’s, arrives at the studio soon after, along with a friend known as Mike B., and the pair go into another room to listen to demo tapes of Hot Ta Def, an aspiring artist on Jay’s label.
October 30, 2002, 7:30 p.m.: According to Rincon, his cell phone rings around this time, and as he reaches down to answer it, he hears footsteps. It is unknown how many people are involved, but the assailant or assailants walk by High’s desk, telling her to get on the ground, and then greet Jay. The DJ reportedly embraces and/or slaps hands with his shooter, who appears to have been buzzed into the studio by High, indicating that the DJ knows his assailant or assailants. According to Rincon, the shooter opens fire, striking him in the leg and Jay, 37, fatally in the back of the head. Though Allen, Mike B., Rincon and High are all at the studio that night, reportedly none of them witness the actual shooting or see who pulled the trigger. Someone from the control room where Allen and Mike B. are working reportedly follows the gunmen as they leave and fires a weapon at them.
November 2002: Theories begin to emerge about the possible motives for the murder, including a debt owed to an old neighborhood acquaintance, revenge by disgruntled rappers with whom Jay had worked and who may have killed him over a disputed music publishing advance, or even a possible connection to 50 Cent, who had been a protege of Jay’s.
November 10, 2002: The New York Post reports that Ronald “Tinard” Washington, an associate of Jay’s, may have served as a lookout while the DJ was shot. Washington is believed to have tipped off the killers when Jay arrived at his 24/7 Studio and then waited outside while the perpetrators committed the crime. The man believed to be an accomplice to Jay’s murder is thought to be hiding out in Washington, D.C. He was only identified as “a convicted drug dealer.” The paper also says that Jam Master Jay may have been killed for a dispute over money, and names Curtis Scoon who had allegedly been feuding with Jay as the prime suspect in the investigation and the man wanted by police for questioning. Among the theories is that Jay owed a debt to Scoon and was killed following an argument over the money.
December 12, 2002: Jay’s longtime friend, Randy Allen, who was present in the studio the night of the murder, denies reports that he was involved in the slaying and had set up Jay in an attempt to cash in on a $500,000 life insurance policy. “You can’t believe everything you read. That’s a cruel thing to do to Jam Master Jay,” Allen later told MTV News.
April 2003: Several Queens residents say they know who killed Jay but are afraid to go to police with the information out of fear. “Honestly, I think the police know what happened but they just don’t want to see justice done,” neighborhood resident Olivia Jackson says. “I know who killed him because I’m in the streets. If I know, then I’m pretty sure they do too.”
June 19, 2003: An investigator tells MTV News that police are again looking into reports that Allen may have been involved in the murder. The news comes days after Jay’s mother, Connie Mizell, told New York’s Daily News that she was upset she had not heard from Allen since the DJ’s slaying and about reports he wasn’t cooperating with police. “That hurts me more than words will ever say,” she told the paper. “All of these years, [Jay] and Randy have been friends. We were all as close as close can be, and I haven’t seen Randy since my Jason was killed. You’re his friend for 20 years and you don’t want to talk to the police about what happened? You don’t come to my house after he died? You want to say you don’t know anything?” Police dismissed, however, another report that same week that the murder may have resulted from a deadly love triangle between Jay, his wife, Terri Corley-Mizell, and Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, an alleged neighborhood drug kingpin.