The legal team for one of the defendants charged in the murder of late Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay claims that a witness for the prosecution is unreliable due to having given conflicting statements regarding the identity of the triggerman.
According to legal documents obtained by AllHipHop, Lydia High, who was present at the studio where Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in October 2002, has several “impairing factors” that damages the credibility of her testimony. In a letter to Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall, the Law Office of Ezra Spilke, which is representing defendant Ronald Washington, laid out multiple instances in which High recollection of the events surrounding the shooting either slightly wavered or changed completely.
According to High’s initial statement to police, “[T]wo black males entered the [sitting room] and both men had guns. Upon entering, one man remained in the doorway, the other man, who was wearing a knit wool mask and holding a gun, ordered Lydia [High] to the floor. The man with the mask then ordered Mr. Mizell to the floor, at which time Uriel Rincon stood up to assist . . . Mr. Mizell. The man with the mask then shot Mr. Mizell, fired another shot and fled out of the doorway with the other man.”
However, in his letter, Spilke points out that High said the shooter was wearing a mask and that she failed to identify their client, although she later told authorities that she had known Washington for “numerous years.”
“Nine months after the shooting, Ms. High’s account changed in that she then knew the identity of one of the participants: Washington, whom she identified from a photo array. In identifying Washington, High told the police that he was the person who pointed a gun at her and told her to ‘get on the ground’ while the masked person shot Mizell.”
Spilke continued, concluding that the witness simply cannot be relied upon without introducing reasonable doubt. “Ms. High’s identifications of Mr. Washington—from the photo lineup or in open court may be unreliable for multiple reasons.”
Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, was shot and killed in his studio in Hollis, Queens, on Oct. 30, 2002. After years of the case remaining unsolved, in 2020, federal prosecutors charged Jordan and Ronald Washington with the murder, during which they believe Jordan fired the shot that ultimately killed Mizell at close range.