A convicted drug vendor reluctantly testified Monday that Jam Master Jay — recognized for his anti-drug advocacy as a part of the groundbreaking rap group Run-DMC — acquired concerned in cocaine offers to pay his payments.
Taking the stand on the federal homicide trial over the DJ’s October 2002 dying, Ralph Mullgrav gave the primary testimony concerning the alleged drug dealing that, prosecutors declare, acquired the rap star killed. He was shot lifeless in his studio in entrance of surprised aides, one in all whom wept in court docket Monday as she recounted the assault.
Mullgrav stated Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, approached him periodically to promote cocaine that the rap star had acquired — “maybe 1 or 2 kilos, here or there.”
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“Jason wasn’t a drug dealer. He just used it to make ends meet,” Mullgrav advised jurors.
The defendants — Mizell’s godson, Karl Jordan Jr., and the DJ’s childhood good friend Ronald Washington — have pleaded not responsible to homicide in a case that has supplied solutions to the long-unsolved lack of a hip-hop legend whereas airing questions on how his life went as soon as the limelight dimmed.
While Run-DMC helped rap acquire mainstream recognition within the Eighties as the primary rap group to notch gold and platinum albums and have a video in rotation on MTV, it additionally distanced itself from medicine.
The trio delivered the message in rap with the 1987 hit “It’s Tricky,” with lyrics together with: People “offer coke, and lots of dope, but we just leave it alone.” They even recorded an anti-drug public service announcement.
But on the trial, prosecutors and a few witnesses have depicted a rap star who grew to become a cocaine intermediary as his profession slowed and cash ran quick. Speculation that he was killed over a drug dispute circulated in chatter and media reviews for many years, however so did different theories. Mizell’s household insisted he did not deal narcotics.
Federal prosecutors have stated Mizell was arranging a profitable cocaine transaction when he was killed. They say Jordan and Washington had been going to be reduce out as a result of a vendor — now recognized as Mullgrav — refused to work with Washington.
Mullgrav advised jurors that Mizell approached him in August 2002, saying he had a line on 10 or so kilograms of cocaine and “asking me to move it for him” in Baltimore. Mullgrav lived there on the time and acknowledged he oversaw a cocaine-distribution ring with about 25 staff.
“He wanted me to work with Tinard. I told him no,” Mullgrav stated, utilizing Washington’s nickname. They knew one another from rising up, and Mullgrav advised jurors he disliked Washington sufficient to wish to shoot him when he appeared in Baltimore round that point.
Mullgrav spent 12 years in federal jail on a drug-related conviction earlier than his 2013 launch. He testified solely after being arrested on a cloth witness warrant — a process that can be utilized to compel court docket appearances — and spending seven days behind bars, stated Gary Farrell, an lawyer who was appointed to characterize him.
Mullgrav had balked at testifying Friday, and he was laconic in court docket Monday.
Prosecutors and witness Uriel Rincon, a Mizell assistant who was shot alongside him, have stated that Jordan shot Mizell whereas Washington brandished a gun and blocked the door.
A second eyewitness, Lydia High, additionally testified Monday that Washington was on the doorway and commanded her at gunpoint to lie on the ground.
High, then JMJ Records’ enterprise supervisor, advised jurors that she was trying down at some paperwork when somebody walked into the studio and approached Mizell on the night of Oct. 30, 2002. She did not establish the individual, however described some attributes that roughly match Jordan, together with a tattooed neck.
The DJ gave the customer a pleasant greeting. But then he set free an expletive, his expression modified and gunshots erupted, High stated, struggling to place the expertise into phrases.
“I was — I was — I was frantic and shocked,” she stated via tears. She recalled operating for the door, the place she stated Washington — whom she knew from her childhood block — ordered her to the ground.
When requested about Mizell’s situation, she paused and regarded downward, crying, earlier than prosecutor Artie McConnell withdrew the query.
While cross-examining High, protection legal professionals emphasised that she initially did not inform investigators about Washington, nor a few gunman with a neck tattoo.
“I was afraid for my life. I just saw something that I couldn’t believe,” High defined.
Jordan’s attorneys have stated he was at his then-girlfriend’s residence on the time of the capturing. Washington’s legal professionals have argued that he had no purpose to kill a good friend who was serving to him financially.