2007_04_arts_jammasterjay.jpgRonald "Tinard" Washington has been named as a suspect in the killing of Jason Mizell (aka Jam Master Jay). Though an arrest in the case isn't expected anytime soon, this is the first publicly announced suspect to be made in this case - something Jay's family members are happy about.

Washington has been on the investigators radar since the October 2002 shooting which took place inside Jay's Queens recording studio. At that time, he told Newsday he was at the studio the night of the murder, but blamed it on someone else. Now he is being identified by Brooklyn federal prosecutors as the man who brought others into the studio and forced them to the ground at gunpoint, while another shot and killed Jam Master Jay.

The reason an arrest may be further ahead in the future is that investigators have had a difficult time with the case due to reluctant witnesses and conflicting stories (somewhat similarly to the murder of Busta Rhymes bodyguard). From an interview with one of Jay's closest friends, Erik "Shake" James:

Allhiphop: Who were the people that were in the studio that night?

S: First of all, I wouldn't be doing this but I heard Randy on Hot 97 today (June 25). The story that he told on the radio, he told me a totally different story as to what happened.

All these dudes say they love Jay, say they'd do this and that. All these people owe Jay more than what they doing. To just sit back and say nothing and everybody is telling a different story. It ain’t like Jay got killed by a sniper from a million yards away, it was people right there. Then I hear him say there was 60 people in the hall? So now that's 65 witnesses and nobody still saw nothing?

I'm already sitting back f*cked up about this sh*t everyday and now I have to figure why the f*ck Randy lied to me.

Washington was convicted earlier this month for six commercial robberies and is also a suspect in the fatal shooting of Randy Walker (a close associate of Tupac Shakur) in 1995. In a sworn statement, however, he denied any connection to the Jay or Walker cases, claiming any previous statements were due to police unjustly hounding him. The filed papers state that Washington "pointed his gun at those present in the studio, ordered them to get on the ground and provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell".