Jam Master Jay

Jam Master Jay Murder Case: Key Witness Accused of Being Unreliable

Jam Master Jay Murder Case: Key Witness Accused of Being Unreliable

Published Tue, February 28, 2023 at 4:39 PM EST

The ongoing murder case of Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay has run into a possible roadblock. According to documents obtained by AllHipHop, Lydia High, a key witness has been accused of identifying the wrong person by Ezra Spilke's law office, which currently represents accused shooter Ronald Washington.

In a letter to Judge LaShanne DeArcy Hall, Spilke reportedly noted, "impairing factors in High's judgment." Included in those factors are "the suspect being partially disguised, a cross-racial and cross-ethnic identifications and identification procedures susceptible to bias."

“At this time, we anticipate that at least four of these factors will be at play here, namely: weapon focus; high stress triggered by aggressive behavior; a long delay between the event and the identification; and co-witness feedback,” documents said.

Lydia High was present at the recording studio on the night that Jam Master Jay was murdered. Initially, she claimed that two Black males entered the waiting area with guns. According to High, one man remained in the doorway upon entering and the other who was wearing a wool mask ordered her and Jay to the floor at gunpoint. The masked man then fired two shots, one of which hit Jam Master Jay before he fled with the other gunman. Spilke alleges that this is incorrect and differs from High's original statement.

“Ms. High, who was interviewed by the police shortly after the shooting, failed to identify Mr. Washington as a participant, whom she later told the authorities she had known for ‘numerous years,” Spilke wrote.

“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. Spilke continued: “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.”

The defense will likely call experimental psychologist Dr. Geoffrey Loftus to the stand during the forthcoming trial. Loftus, who has expertise in human memory, visual perception and eyewitness identification, will directly challenge High's recollection of the murder.

Jam Master Jay was murdered in his Queens recording studio on October 30, 2002. Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr were indicted for his murder in 2022.

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