BAY CITY, MI – One night this spring, several men walked out of a party store in the South End of Bay City. Seconds later, one of them fell dead, a bullet having been fired into the base of his neck.
On Wednesday, September 29, video footage of the man’s death was shown during a court hearing for the 18-year-old accused of carrying out the murder.
Parell L. Moskal’s preliminary examination took place before Bay County District Judge Mark E. Janer. Moskal began the public murder hearing in the May 24 shooting death of Taylor J. “Top” Lall, 25.
Before releasing the footage from the surveillance cameras, Bay County District Attorney Nancy E. Borushko called Jerek Wolff to the witness stand. Wolff said he spent May 24 hanging out with Moskal, Curtis M. Leaman, 26, and another male friend. Three or four times that day the quartet visited Jan’s Party Store, 603 Garfield Ave.
On their last visit to the store in the early evening, Wolff saw Lall, whom he called “Top”, in the store. Wolff said he knew Lall from his reputation as a rapper, although he didn’t know him personally.
“Everyone looked pretty cool with each other,” he said of the vibe among the men.
Wolff bought a drink and a bag of crisps, then walked out of the store and waited for his friends, he said.
Eventually, Wolff and Lall’s three friends walked out of the store as well. He saw a friend hand something over to Moskal, he said. Soon after, Wolff saw what looked like Lall walking towards his car.
“I had a feeling that something was wrong,” he said. “I turned away. I heard a gunshot and heard a car drive away.
After the shot, Wolff and his friends dispersed, Wolff running down an alleyway away from Jan’s house, he said. He did not see who fired the shot, he added. The friends met at a house in Bay City and then proceeded to a residence in Saginaw, Wolff said.
When asked if the friends had discussed what happened at Jan’s house on the ride to Saginaw, Wolff said no.
“I asked Parell if he had done something and he didn’t respond,” Wolff said.
Bay City Public Safety Detective Bradley Lewis then said that on May 28 he spoke with Moskal’s grandmother Lucille Moskal at her Bay City home. He went there to show her photos of a man taken from footage recorded at Jan’s home, he said.
“She said it was her grandson, Parell Moskal,” Lewis said. “She said she was sure of it. She said it had been about a month since she had seen him.
Lucille Moskal herself testified that the detective showed her a photo of her grandson, although she does not know when he did. Borushko showed Lucille Moskal two photos of a man wearing clothes Parell Moskal allegedly wore on May 24, although she said she could not definitely identify the man in the photos as her grandson .
Bay City Public Safety Detective Ben Meyer said on May 24 he visited Jan’s home in a reported homicide. He arrived to see Lall’s body lying in an alleyway behind the business.
The store had several working surveillance cameras, both inside and out, Meyer said. Police obtained images recorded by cameras on the night of May 24, which Borushko played in court.
Images without audio showed several male customers in the store, some appearing to be interacting with each other. At 9:34 p.m., Leaman walks into the store, followed moments later by Moskal, Wolff, and another of their friends.
Meyer identified individuals by the distinctive clothing each man wore.
At around 9:38 p.m., footage showed a black car entering the parking lot and dropping off Lall, who enters the store while Leaman and Wolff are still inside. Moskal was standing outside the store at the time, the pictures showed.
Soon after, all the men leave the store, Lall coming out last. The footage showed everyone lurking in the parking lot before turning a corner and leaving the camera’s line of sight. The car that Lall drove into drives down the alley behind the store.
At 9:48 p.m., the camera in the alley behind the store captures Lall falling face-first. Thereafter, he remains motionless on the ground.
About 18 seconds passed between the men on the turn and Lall falling forward, Meyer said.
“You can see a figure that appears to be running from Taylor Lall in a northerly direction to the lane,” Meyer said looking at the footage. The car Lall arrived in then flies down the alley.
Defense attorney Sally B. Warren asked Meyer if investigators had ever heard of a potential motive in the murder. Meyer replied no.
Warren also asked the detective if the police found the weapon used to kill Lall.
“A gun was recovered,” Meyer said. “He’s currently at the Crime Lab awaiting ballistics.”
When asked if he could identify Lall’s killer from the footage, Meyer said he thought he could tell it was Moskal, although the footage does not explicitly portray Lall’s shooting. .
The fatal bullet penetrated the base of Lall’s neck and exited through the nose, Meyer said.
After Meyer’s testimony, Borushko asked Judge Janer to add a firearm count to the Moskal case and then link it to the Circuit Court for trial. Warren objected to the link, saying insufficient evidence had been presented that Moskal was the shooter.
“I don’t think the prosecutor was able to show which individual actually shot Mr. Lall,” Warren said.
Borushko countered that Moskal, identified by his clothes, stood directly behind Lall as he fell, according to the video footage.
“If someone else had shot Mr. Lall, they should have shot Mr. Moskal,” Borushko said.
Janer ended up siding with Borushko and turned the case over to the higher court for further processing.
Leaman, of Essexville, is not facing charges related to Lall’s murder, although he faces seven gun-related offenses related to another shooting incident that took place in the neighborhood historic Midland Street on the night of May 21. Police said they arrested Moskal and Leaman at the same location in Saginaw on May 28.
Lall’s death was Bay City’s first homicide in nearly two years, with the previous one taking place in July 2019.
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