BROOKLYN, New York — The Jam Master Jay murder investigation took another turn Wednesday when Ronald "Tinard" Washington, who has been implicated by two unnamed witnesses in Jay's murder, was sentenced in federal court to 17 years in prison and three years' supervised release.
The sentencing follows the defendant's conviction last year on a series of robbery charges dating back to 2002.
Prosecutor Sean Haran argued for a stronger sentence for Washington "due to the defendant's involvement in two separate murders," presumably referring to the murders of Jay and Tupac Shakur's bodyguard Randy "Stretch" Walker, but Federal Judge Nina Gershon declined to consider the murders in her decision.
"If it was such an overwhelming case, someone would have prosecuted him, instead of hanging a murder on a string of robberies with a BB gun," she said in her ruling.
Dressed in an off-white T-shirt and ash-colored baggy sweatpants, a visibly distressed Washington sat quietly in the corridor.
According to federal documents, Washington, 40, confessed his role to a former girlfriend, although he has not been charged with the murder. His defense lawyer, Susan Kellman, told the paper, "If the government had a case, they'd bring it. The reality is, they have no idea who [killed Jam Master Jay]."
However, Washington may not have seen his last day in court: Police officials have told MTV News that he is "a person of interest" in the ongoing investigation of the murders.
For full coverage of the Jam Master Jay case, see the Jam Master Jay Reports.