YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Almost 10 years after her son’s murder, Jewel Moses still gets the sheets of music in the mail.

She doesn’t know who is sending them or why, but they are pages and pages filled with sheet music, folded up to fit in a standard business-size envelope, notes and phrases that look haphazard to the naked eye, yet, somehow connected, almost like if they can be deciphered, the person who killed her son will be revealed.

Curtis Moses ran the P2, or Partners Jazz and Blues Lounge at Oak Hill and Falls avenues, before he was gunned down about 2:45 a.m. June 22, 2012, on a muggy early summer morning in the parking lot across the street.

The detective investigating the case said it has been a long and involved investigation, but it has not grown stale, despite the almost 10 years since Curtis, 43, died.

In fact, Detective Sgt. Michael Lambert says he has just about all the physical evidence he needs. What he needs now is a witness, someone to tie together the physical evidence.

He needs someone to talk.

Or, you can say, he needs someone who can sing.

Jewel Moses has been receiving these pages of sheet music since her son Curtis Moses’ death in 2012.

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Lambert’s job isn’t so much to decipher notes or clues but to fill in a puzzle, especially in Curtis’ case.

Curtis was gunned down in the parking lot across the street as the club was shutting down for the evening. There were a lot of people around. Someone should have seen something.

Right away, because Curtis owned the club and was well-liked, there were a lot of people to check out, some of them suspects. Four years after Curtis’ death, Lambert told a newspaper reporter that the fact there were so many people to check out was slowing down the investigation.

One thing he was sure of at the time that he still thinks is true today is that Curtis’ death was personal; he was shot in front of a bunch of people and nothing was taken from him. Police collected 13 shell casings at the scene. Whoever killed him couldn’t wait, and wasn’t particularly picky about being seen. Reports said the shooter was seen running down Falls Avenue after the shots were fired.

Capt. Rod Foley, who was Chief of Detectives at the time, said the day after Curtis’ death that he was ambushed. He called his death an assassination.

“It’s an unusual type of crime because of the way it happened,” Foley said then. “Somebody was actually, it appeared somebody was waiting for him…He [Curtis] was basically rushed by the suspect, unable to retreat, or anything. He was kind of caught off guard and basically assassinated right there at his car.”

Since 2016, Lambert has been able to do a lot of work on the case, which is not easy, considering the uptick in violence city police experienced from 2017-21, when they had 28, 28, 19, 28 and 31 homicides.

Lambert was in the thick of it with some labor intensive cases, including the death of a woman who was stabbed in a bathtub, dismembered, and found in a freezer.

But in that time, he was able to narrow down the pool of suspects in Curtis’ death. He said sometimes in a case, ruling people out can be very time consuming.

“We’ve narrowed it down to one group of people,” Lambert said,

Lambert has good physical evidence. Now, he said, he needs a call or someone to come in and help him tie that evidence to a solid suspect. He knows someone had to see the shooting.

He wants to find that person most of all for Jewel. Now a patrol supervisor, he looks through the file he keeps in his cruiser as he talks in the back lot of the police department on one of those deceptively bright March days that gives the illusion of warmth, yet a cold wind whips through the buildings downtown and through multiple layers of clothing, making it almost impossible to stay warm. He keeps a couple of other cases in the cruiser with him, but he said Jewel’s stands out because of her kindness and understanding.

“She’s been patient with me,” Lambert said.

Curtis Moses, killed in Youngstown in 2012
Curtis Moses

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Jewel is 72, moving to Youngstown from Birmingham, Ala., in 1967, to be with her husband David, who came here from Alabama to work at Youngstown Sheet & Tube.

Curtis was her oldest, and the couple had two other children as they settled into life on the East Side of Youngstown. At one point, David and Jewel split up, but they got back together. David also lost his job at Sheet & Tube in the aftermath of Black Monday and worked at another plant in town, North Star Steel.

The family lived on Early Road and later Byron Street, and Curtis graduated from East High School. Curtis liked sports, a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and later, the Miami Heat, and he attended Youngstown State University for a short time after graduation, majoring in graphic design.

Curtis was also into music — he was a big fan of George Clinton and Tupac. He enjoyed playing chess and dominoes. And he is also the father of three boys and a girl.

While a class clown, Curtis was also smart and his grades showed that, Jewel said.

“Curtis did very well in school,” Jewel said.

Jewel’s daughter Felesha, who she had when she was separated from David, suffered from cancer and despite fighting hard, she succumbed to the disease 11 months before Curtis was killed.

The deaths of two of her children so close together were a shock.

“Eleven months apart, I lost my babies,” Jewel said, sitting on the couch of the Campbell home she lives in under a picture of Felesha. The home was Felesha’s, and Jewel moved in to help care for her. After Felesha died, Jewel stayed. David passed on in 2019.

While Felesha’s death was hard to take, Jewel said there is at least some closure, because her life wasn’t taken from her at a moment’s notice, unlike her oldest son.

“With him getting killed, I can’t get a grip on this,” Jewel said. “I have no closure. I get bitter sometimes, knowing that that person is still out there. Until he’s brought to justice, I won’t have closure.”

Curtis Moses murder scene 2012
The scene of the crime on June 22, 2012.

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Although Curtis excelled in school and was a student at YSU, he also had some other things going on in his life then, things Jewel did not approve of.

Curtis was part of a group of kids who were stealing cars. Then his legal troubles escalated until he ended up serving time in prison.

“He got in with the wrong crowd,” Jewel said.

She missed him horribly while he was locked up, going every day she was able to visit him.

“I was hurt because he didn’t go down a path I wanted him to go down,” Jewel said.

One path she seemingly didn’t want him going down was taking over the P2. Long a fixture at the corner of Oak Hill and Falls avenues, Jewel said she did not see in the building what Curtis did.

“I asked, ‘What the hell are you going to do with this raggedy place?’ But he said, ‘Mom, it’s something I want to do.'”

After Curtis was gunned down, Jewel tried her hand at running the club for awhile. Eventually, she had to let it go.

Another man was shot death outside on the sidewalk in February 2015 after an argument that began inside. A few weeks later, the city forced the club to close. It had been vacant for a time, then someone had tried to fix it up, but whatever happened to those improvements is not known. The building still stands dormant.

One thing that is not dormant is the pain Jewel feels at the loss of her son. For awhile, she went to the cemetery every day to visit him, but that eventually stopped.

“It’s been hell,” she said.

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This story is part of a series of cold cases that WKBN is examining.

Do you have a cold case that you’d like us to look into further? Submit a cold case to WKBN.

Anyone with information on Moses’ death can call the Youngstown police Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911 or CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE.