Jam Master Jay Murder Witness Accused Of Being "Unreliable"

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Run DMC Respect Festival London 2001
Jam Master Jay of Run DMC performs on stage at Respect Festival, Finsbury Park, London, 21st July 2001. (Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)
A key witness of Jam Master Jay's murder has been accused of being "unreliable."

A key witness in the killing of Jam Master Jay, Lydia High, is “unreliable,” according to lawyers representing Ronald Washington. As noted in court documents obtained by AllHipHop, the Law Office of Ezra Spilke pointed out several “impairing factors," in a letter to Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall. Among them are that the suspect was partially disguised in the first place as well as the fact that cross-racial and cross-ethnic identifications and identification procedures are often susceptible to bias. High was in the studio on the night of the legendary Run-DMC DJ's death.

In High's initial statement, she said: “[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.”

Jam Master Jay In 2001

Jam Master Jay of Run DMC performs on stage at the Respect Festival, Finsbury Park, London, United Kingdom, 2001. (Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)

“According to Ms. High, only the shooter was wearing a mask," Spilke says in the new documents. "Ms. High, who was interviewed by the police shortly after the shooting, failed to identify as a participant Mr. Washington, whom she later told the authorities she had known for ‘numerous years.’" He continued: “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.”

Ronald Washington's defense team also confirmed that they intend to call Dr. Geoffrey Loftus to the stand. Loftus is a psychologist with expertise in human memory, visual perception, as well as eyewitness identification. They plan to use his testimony to poke holes in High's account. Spilke concluded: “Ms. High’s identifications of Mr. Washington—from the photo lineup or in open court may be unreliable for multiple reasons. Dr. Loftus’s descriptions of these reasons to the jury will provide the jurors with critical scientific information based on which they can allocate appropriate weight to Ms. High’s identifications. For these reasons, Dr. Loftus’s testimony is relevant and will be helpful to the trier of fact.”


About The Author
Cole Blake is currently an Editor at HotNewHipHop based out of Brooklyn, New York. He began working at the site as an intern back in 2018 while studying journalism at St. John’s University. In the time since, he’s graduated with a bachelor's degree and written extensively about a wide range of topics including pop culture, film & television, politics, video games, sports, and much more. He’s also covered music festivals such as Gov. Ball and Rolling Loud. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Wednesday or on weekends. On the sports front, Cole’s a passionate NBA and NFL fan with his favorite teams being the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Lakers. He also roots for the Yankees whenever he finds himself at Yankee Stadium or the Red Storm when in the company of other SJU alumni. His favorite hip-hop artists are billy woods, Earl Sweatshirt, Cam’ron, MIKE, and Mach-Hommy.