Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives investigate a fatal shooting in...

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives investigate a fatal shooting in Moriches at Tall Oaks Circle on November 26, 2021. Credit: Stringer News

A Riverhead man has been convicted of murder for fatally shooting a man who had argued with his girlfriend in 2021, Suffolk prosecutors said Tuesday.

A jury found Michael Gilbert, 29, of Riverhead, guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the killing of Tyrell Durham, prosecutors said.

“A man is dead because a needless argument caused this defendant to pull a trigger and thoughtlessly take the victim’s life,” said Tierney. “One has to wonder if the defendant, who is now convicted of murder and faces 40 years in prison, thinks it was worth the time.”

Gilbert’s attorney, Jonathan Manley, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

According to prosecutors, Gilbert overheard Tyrell Durham, 37, of Moriches, yelling obscenities at Lashonda Coles, Gilbert’s girlfriend, over the telephone just after midnight on Nov. 26, 2021, Coles, 30, was on the phone with her friend who was dating Durham, prosecutors said, adding that both Coles and Durham lived in the same building of an apartment complex on Tall Oaks Circle in Moriches.

During that telephone call, prosecutors said, Coles and Durham got into a verbal altercation because the victim overheard Coles ask her friend why she was with “the guy that knocked her teeth out.” Durham became angry and cursed at Coles, prosecutors said. Gilbert and Durham joined the argument and began yelling at each other, culminating with Gilbert challenging Durham to “meet me outside,” prosecutors said.

Gilbert and his girlfriend went outside, and moments later, Gilbert and Coles appeared around the corner of the building, at which point Gilbert fired a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun at Durham six times, hitting him three times in the body, prosecutors said.

Durham was pronounced dead within one hour of his transport to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue. Gilbert fled the scene but later surrendered to Suffolk County Police Homicide Detectives on Dec. 1, 2021, after hiring his attorney, prosecutors said.

Six shell casings and six projectiles were recovered with three of the projectiles recovered from Durham’s body during the investigation, prosecutors said. All six shell casings were determined to be fired from the same gun, prosecutors said. Prosecutors also said a slide sandal that was recovered by investigators in the parking lot of the apartment complex had DNA on it that matched Gilbert.

During the trial, Durham's girlfriend identified Gilbert as the shooter, having known the defendant for nearly two decades, previously attending middle school with him, prosecutors said. Coles corroborated the verbal altercation between Gilbert and Durham and testified that she saw Durham shot outside of his apartment and that she saw a gun in Gilbert’s hand, prosecutors said. Additional eyewitnesses corroborated the path Coles and the defendant took to confront Durham, including witnessing of Gilbert firing a gun six times.

Gilbert is due back in court on Nov. 2 for sentencing.

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