Phone calls linked to killing
Suspect was the beneficiary of victim’s life insurance policy
Schenectady Tarchand Lall sat quietly in Schenectady County Court on Friday as a prosecutor described him as a greedy killer who arranged one associate’s murder and plotted to get another man to fatally overdose on heroin — all for life insurance proceeds.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Willis told jurors that Lall orchestrated the Nov. 19, 2016 murder of 49-year-old Charles “Chuck” Dembrosky, who was gunned down outside his Campbell Avenue home in the city’s Bellevue neighborhood, shot in the neck.
Two Delaware-based hitmen, Joevany “Moon” Luna, 43, and Kyshaan Moore, 28, were convicted in May of carrying out the murder. Willis said Lall paid the killers $10,000. Evidence included cellphone records, which showed that on the night of the murder their phone pinged off towers from Wilmington, Del., to Schenectady.
“This was a murder for hire. There is no doubt,” Willis told jurors before Judge Matthew Sypniewski. “And there will be no doubt when you see all of the
evidence in this case.”
The prosecutor later added: “Charles Dembrosky paid the ultimate price in this case — with his life.”
Six months before the slaying, Lall, a contractor, convinced Dembrosky, his part-time construction employee, to make him a beneficiary on his life insurance policy. They were listed as domestic partners, Willis said, which was untrue. He said in the months leading to the killing, Lall repeatedly contacted the insurer to make sure the policy was in effect.
He said Lall later approached Chad Raymond, a friend of Dembrosky, and got him to make Lall a beneficiary on another insurance policy. When Lall was later arrested and in the Schenectady County jail, the prosecutor said, Lall approached an inmate and tried to get him to kill Raymond.
According to Willis, Lall told the inmate, “I’ll pay your bail. I’ll get you out of jail if you go find Chad and get him to overdose on heroin.”
Willis said the inmate was not interested. He said Lall later offered a Schenectady County jail inmate $1,500 to get Luna to write a statement exonerating Lall of the murder, but it fell through.
Lall, a native of Guyana who was once active in the Schenectady Premier Softball Cricket League, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, weapons charges, life settlement fraud and criminal solicitation.
Cheryl Coleman, the attorney for Lall, told
jurors they would not see a single eyewitness to the crime, DNA nor ballistics evidence.
“As to the allegation Mr. Willis was discussing about the domestic partnership,” Coleman told jurors, “I’m going to simply say that in this case the evidence falls squarely into the ‘don’t askdon’t tell.’ You’re not going to know one way or the other what was or wasn’t the relationship.”
Evidence at prosecutors’ disposal includes street surveillance video outside Lall’s home in Mont Pleasant. It captured images of a red 2015 Mazda car outside Lall’s home matching the one used by Luna and Moore.
In his opening statement, Willis explained Dembrosky left behind a critical piece of evidence – his cellphone. It contained the numbers of past callers, the last three of which came from a cellphone in the 484 area code in Philadelphia. Dembrosky had never received a call from that number previously, Willis said.
Willis said police tracked the records of the 484 area code phone and learned that Lall had called the number repeatedly — before and after Dembrosky was murdered – in lengthy conversations. Willis said police questioned Lall in January 2017.
He told them he did not know the number or the identity of the caller.
The prosecutor said police learned that on the night of the murder, the 484 cellphone pinged off cellphone towers from the Wilmington, Del., area to Schenectady, corresponding to the time period of the murder.
Defense attorney Cheryl Coleman speaks with Tarchand Lall at his first-degree murder trial in Schenectady County Court on Friday.