A jailhouse stoolie who told cops he knows who killed hip hop icon Jam Master Jay is himself being eyed in the 1995 murder of a rap producer, the Daily News has learned.
Last week, Ronald (Tinard) Washington, 30, was questioned about the unsolved slaying of Randy (Big Stretch) Walker - who was Tupac Shakur's best friend, sources said. Walker was slain in a drive-by shooting in Queens on Nov. 30, 1995.
The interview, conducted by the NYPD cold case squad at the Nassau County Correctional Facility, where Washington is being held on armed robbery charges, is part of a massive federal probe into violence in the hip hop industry, sources said.
Washington is also a suspect in the unsolved murder of Run-DMC deejay Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay, who was slain in his Jamaica, Queens, studio last Oct. 30, sources said.
"Of course I didn't do it," Washington told The News yesterday in a phone call from jail. "For years, people have been saying, 'Tinard did this, Tinard did that.' Now my name is coming up for killing Stretch? It's ridiculous."
Walker was shot twice in the back by three men who pulled up alongside his green minivan at 112th Ave. and 209th St. in Queens Village while he was driving. His minivan smashed into a tree and hit a parked car before flipping over.
At the time of his death, Walker was a member of the rap group Live Squad, which had peaked with a hit single, "Heartless/Murderahh." He also worked with Shakur, helping him produce two gold records. Shakur was fatally shot in Las Vegas in 1996.
Walker's mother, Lucilda, lambasted the rap industry yesterday for promoting the violence that left her son dead, and her granddaughter, Moneysha, without a father.
"If I think about it, I fall apart," she said, as her voice began to shake. "It's almost eight years. That's a long time for someone who committed a murder to be on the streets.
"I really don't know what the cause is for so many young people to lose their lives in the music world. I don't know what is wrong with these people," she said.
But Washington said he told police the shooting stemmed from "a beef" between men from Springfield Blvd. - where Walker lived - and a group from another block of Hollis Ave.
That neighborhood, regarded as a rap epicenter where hit artists such as 50 Cent and Ja Rule were reared, has been the scene of many rap-related murders, including two this year.
"The worst of everything back then, I got blamed for because of my reputation," Washington said. "I've been in jail on and off all my life. I didn't do it. In fact, when Stretch got killed, I left town because I knew they would think it was me."