GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday afternoon, the family of a murdered man got news they had been waiting to hear for five years.
The Kent County Metro Cold Case team has formally filed a murder charge against the man they say killed William Parnell in September 2009. Parnell, 56, was found beaten, bound and gagged.
“I don’t think there’s any closure. It’s just justice,” said Melanie Taylor, Parnell’s sister-in-law. “I never had any doubt from day one that it was going to get solved.”
Wednesday, authorities announced that they arrested Teivariol Davonte-Darnell Moore, 26, in the case. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound former Grand Rapids Community College football player is reportedly known as “Little Man” on the streets. Parnell had been living with Moore’s uncle in the Grand Rapids home in the 1100 block of Diamond Avenue NE where the murder happened.
Police say they suspect Moore and Parnell got into a fight. Once Moore realized Parnell had been killed, he tied him up and gagged him to make the scene look like a robbery. Police say Parnell was killed hours before his body was discovered.
Investigators say Moore’s cause of death came from injuries consistent with a beating.
An investigator with the cold case team swore before a judge Wednesday that Moore’s DNA was linked to the crime.
“We were able to obtain a search warrant for his DNA, compared his DNA to the DNA under the fingernails obtained from the victim,” the officer said. “It was a match.”
Moore was interviewed by police and arrested Tuesday.
“He did admit to his involvement in this crime… being the sole, lone suspect in this crime,” the officer told the judge. “He did admit to taking Mr. Parnell’s life.”
“You watched me cry, ‘Little Man,’” said Larry Taylor, Parnell’s brother. “Now, big man, you get to see you cry.”
Parnell’s family members say he struggled with alcoholism and used drugs, which they suspect may have contributed to the fight the night of his death.
Arrested in Saginaw where he grew up and had recently signed up to volunteer with the high school football team, Moore had a clean criminal history in Michigan. If convicted of the second-degree murder charge he faces, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
Parnell’s homicide is the 17th case declared solved by the Kent County Metro Cold Case team since it’s inception in 2006.
“Thank God for Cold Case or he’d be still running around here living his life,” Larry Taylor said.
Even years later, Taylor says he’s haunted by the death of his oldest brother and deals with the guilt of not being there to help him.
“I can’t even go to funerals. I can’t even listen to slow music,” he said. “I just wish it could have been me instead of him.”