UPDATE: Huntington Murder Plea and Sentence; Victim's Mother Speaks

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 2/26/13 @ 12:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It was an emotional day in a Huntington courtroom Tuesday as a young man admitted to shooting a man to death, and a mom made an emotional plea for answers.

Anthony Cole, 21, entered the court with a smile, saying hello to people and waving at others, but the mood changed quickly.

Cole was charged with 1st degree murder in the shooting death of Deshawn Gilbert, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, in January 2011. Gilbert was found shot to death in apartment in the 700-block of 8th Avenue in Huntington,

During Tuesday’s hearing, Cole pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of 2nd degree murder.

At the time of his arrest, Cole told police that he planned to shoot and kill himself that night, but thought of his siblings and put the gun away. He told police he later walked into the room where Gilbert was sitting and Gilbert made a comment to him. Detectives said that's when Cole got his gun and said, "May God rest your soul" and fired one shot into Gilbert's head.

Investigators say the two men had just met the night before the murder when they both ended up staying in the apartment with a mutual friend.

When Judge Paul Farrell asked Cole why he killed Gilbert, Cole answered, "Honestly sir, I really don't know. It just happened." He also told the judge, "I can't say that I meant to hurt anybody, it just happened. I can't even explain myself sir."

Cole also told the court before being sentenced that, "First I would like to apologize to the victim's family. I know what I did can never be took back. I'm really remorseful. I would like to apologize to my own family for what I put them through," said Cole. "I put them through a lot. I would like to apologize to the court for all I've done. I'm going to better myself, take classes, mentally and physically, I'm going to better myself, spiritually and all that. So I just ask for the little bit of mercy I can get, it would really be appreciated sir."

After Cole spoke, Brenda Gilbert, the victim's mother had her chance to address the man who killed her son.

"I'm here to express my feelings, how I feel about Anthony Cole. You know you did the unthinkable to my family. You took my son away from me," Gilbert said. "I think you're a horrible person.... God forgive me for saying this, but I hate you. I wish you to death and that's a strong word that I'm using, but I do hate you."

Several times Gilbert asked Cole why he killed her son, saying the two did not know each other and she just wanted to understand to move forward, "I just want to know why did he kill my son? That's all I want to know for my heart to start healing. That's all I want to know."

"If you would've fought my son hand-to-hand, it would have been something different. I could accept that. But you just shot him in the back of his head in cold blood while he was sleeping," Gilbert said.

Judge Farrell spoke after Gilbert saying, "She's entitled to her hatred and to never forgive you."

He also told Cole, "I hope you're a better man because up to now, you've not been much of a man."

Farrell then sentenced Cole to 40 years on the 2nd degree murder charge, and 10 years for using the stolen credit card. The sentences will be served consecutively

Anthony Cole will be eligible for parole in 15 years.



UPDATE 12/4/12 @ 10:40 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The trial of a Huntington man charged with murder has been postponed until February.

Anthony Cole, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 24-year-old Dashawn Gilbert, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was living in Huntington.

In January 2011, police were called to an apartment building in the 700-block of 8th Avenue where they found Gilbert dead from a single gunshot wound.

During Coles’ preliminary hearing in February 2011, Detective Cass McMillian said Cole confessed to the shooting during a taped interview after his arrest.

According to Det. McMillian, Cole told them he was originally planning to shoot and kill himself, but decided against it after thinking of his two younger brothers, who are nine and three-years-old. So, he put the gun away and walked into the family room of the apartment where he was staying. Gilbert, who was also staying there, was sitting on the sofa. According to Det. McMillian, when Cole walked back into the room, Gilbert made a comment to him at which point Cole turned around, said "May God rest your soul" and fired one shot into Gilbert's head killing him.

Det. McMillian said Cole and Gilbert had just met the night before the murder when they both ended up staying with the same friend, the renter of the apartment.

The latest postponement is due to new evidence from Cole’s cell phone that needs to examined by his attorney. His trial was supposed to start Tuesday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/7/11 @ 6:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- What started out as a plan to commit suicide ended in murder.

That's what a Huntington police detective said Monday in a preliminary hearing about a teen charged with killing a man in an apartment building.

Anthony Cole is charged with the murder of Dashawn Gilbert.

And Monday we learned (from Cole's own statement after his arrest) that he initially planned to kill himself. But, through a strange and quick twist of events, he shot Gilbert instead saying, "May God have mercy on your soul".

“He went back to the apartment and stuck a pistol to his head to take his own life, but couldn't do that because he thought of the devastation it would mean to his two little brothers,” Huntington Police Detective Cass McMillian said.

But McMillian says, by Cole's own admission, he did pull the trigger on his gun that day, but it wasn't to kill himself.

“He said he walked out of the bedroom, and the victim made a comment to him, and he turned around and said, 'May God have mercy on your soul' and fired one round,” McMillian said.

Gilbert, died from that one gunshot to the head. The 24-year-old leaves behind his girlfriend and the couples 3-year-old son. They moved to Huntington from Brooklyn, N.Y.,several years ago.

“He was a good father. He was always there for his son,” said Chileatha Jones, the grandmother of Gilbert's son.

Police say Cole and Gilbert had just met each other the night before the shooting when they both just happened to be staying with the same friend in Apt. 8 at a building in the 700 block of 8th Avenue.

That friend returned home from work on the evening of Jan. 26 to find Gilbert dead and Cole missing. But McMillian says he left clues on his Facebook page that helped police track him down.

“One post said he was out in the country,” McMillian said.

“I’m glad he was caught and brought to justice. I’m just sad someone had to lose a life,” Morgan Rowsey said.

Rowsey was also a victim of Cole's. The Marshall University graduate student says he robbed her at gunpoint back in December. But, for her, making peace came easier.

“I forgive him and hope that if he serves prison time, he’ll eventually do something good with his life,” Rowsey said.

Jones said, “I just don’t understand. I’m still in shock. For us, it was like he was taken away from us for no reason."

We talked with Gilbert's mother Monday in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was outraged that Cole's thoughts of his younger brothers, ages 3 and 9 stopped him from killing himself, but not Dashawn. Not only does Dashawn have a 3-year-old son. She says he also has a 3-year-old brother.

Cole's case is now headed to the grand jury. He's charged with murder, first-degree robbery and several misdemeanors.



UPDATE 2/7/11 @ 1:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The teen charged in the murder of a man in a Huntington apartment building will have his case heard by a grand jury. A Cabell County Magistrate made that ruling Monday after Anthony Cole, who's 19, had a preliminary hearing.

During the hearing, Detective Cass McMillian said Anthony confessed to shooting and killing Dashawn Gilbert on January 26. He made that confession during a taped interview after his arrest.

According to Det. McMillian, Cole told them he was originally planning to shoot and kill himself, but decided against it after thinking of his two younger brothers, who are nine and three-years-old. So, he put the gun away and walked into the family room of the apartment where he was staying. Gilbert, who was also staying there, was sitting on the sofa. According to Det. McMillian, when Cole walked back into the room, Gilbert made a comment to him at which point Cole turned around, said "May God rest your soul" and fired one shot into Gilbert's head killing him.

Det. McMillian said Cole and Gilbert had just met the night before the murder when they both ended up staying with the same friend, the renter of apartment #8 at a building in the 700 block of 8th Avenue.

Cole faces charges of murder and also first degree robbery from a case back in December. That case involves a December 20 incident where police say he hit a Marshall student in the back of the head and then stole her debit/credit card as she was getting into her car in the 2000 block of 7th Avenue.

The criminal complaint says Cole then used the card at a fast food restaurant in downtown Huntington. It also says Cole was armed with a gun during the attack on the woman. Cole was identified through surveillance footage.



UPDATE 1/28/11 @ 5 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Swift justice. Less than a day after a murder, Huntingon police catch their man.

It was a combination of bad judgment by the suspect and good timing by police that lead to the quick catch. The main break for detectives actually came from the suspect.

By now, most of us have heard of the social networking website, Facebook. It brings people together, tears them apart and, in this case, put them behind bars.

Anthony Cole is just 19 -- a recent graduate from Huntington High and college freshman at Marshall University. But, now he's in jail charged with murder.

“The two had limited knowledge of each other and had just met the night before, no bad blood,” Huntington Police Lt. John Williams said.

Dashawn Gilbert was just 24. Two young men -- practically strangers whose paths crossed ending one life and changing the other forever.

“He shot him in the upper head,” Williams said.

According to police, the two were staying at a friend's apartment in the 700 block of 8th Avenue. She went to work and, when she returned, Gilbert was dead and Cole missing. That's when police got a tip from Anthony's own Facebook page.

“He had some statements on there that indicated he had knowledge about the crime,” Williams said.

It wasn't long after that that police got a tip about Cole's whereabouts and tracked him down.

But, just as police were putting this case together, another one also involving Cole came together. This one was from December, and the charge was armed robbery.

According to the criminal complaint, Cole struck a Marshall University student on the back of the head, showed a gun and demanded money and her phone. Police later secured surveillance video of him using her debit card at ‘Five Guys’ to buy nearly $20 worth of food.

Cole is also charged for using the robbery victim's debit card. Police say other than the robbery and now the murder, Cole has no history with police.

They say, by all accounts, this was a good kid on a good path who made a wrong turn somewhere and, now, isn't offering any explanation for his actions.

Cole is in the Western Regional Jail. No bond has been set on the murder charge.



UPDATE 1/27/11 @ 10 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with shooting death of Dashawn Gilbert.

Detectives have charged Anthony Cole of Huntington with 1st degree murder.

The shooting happened Wednesday night inside an apartment in the 700 block of 8th Avenue where Gilbert was staying with an acquaintance. Police say Cole was also staying in that apartment.

After receiving a tip and checking Cole's Facebook profile, where detectives say he talked about the killing, they tracked Cole down in the woods near Miller Road in Huntington.

According to the criminal complaint, Gilbert died from single gunshot wound to the head. The complaint also indicates Cole confessed to the crime. Police tell WSAZ.com that Cole was not able to tell them why he did it.

Police also charged Cole with 1st degree robbery and two counts of the fraudulent use of an access device from an unrelated case.

That case involves a December 20 incident, where police say he hit a Marshall student in the back of the head and then stole her debit/credit card as she was getting into her car in the 2000 block of 7th Avenue.

The criminal complaint says Cole then used the card at a fast food restaurant in downtown Huntington. It also says Cole was armed with a gun during the attack on the woman. Cole was identified through surveillance footage.

Following his arrest, Cole was arraigned in Cabell County Magistrate Court. He is being held in the Western Regional Jail without bond.

His next court appearance is set for February 7.



UPDATE 1/27/11 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- What started out as a mysterious body found in a Huntington apartment building is gaining clarity.

Police now know the man who was murdered..

Dashawn Gilbert is the victim. He was a 24-year-old native of Brooklyn, N.Y. But, for at least the last couple of years he made his home in the Huntington area.

Police were called to this apartment building Wednesday evening in the 700 block of 8th Avenue. That's where they found Dashawn Gilbert dead from one gunshot in apartment number eight. The woman who lives in this unit said Gilbert was an acquaintance she met over the summer and occasionally saw at local nightclubs. She said the two texted from time to time.

Earlier this week, the woman said Gilbert sent her a text looking for a place to spend the night saying he had nowhere else to go. She agreed. Wednesday she left him in the apartment and when she returned he was dead.

“It doesn’t shock me that someone died in that building,” one man said.

A man who lived in the neighborhood for more than thirty years says recently he's observed criminal activity going on here calling the building a known crack house. While no one who lives in the building would talk -- everyone saying they weren't home at the time of the shooting, this neighbor says the neighborhood in general is not safe.

“I see all kinds of drug activity. I got mugged just a couple blocks down the street on my way back home from the store,” the man said.

Gilbert's mother spoke with WSAZ.com's Carrie Cline from Brooklyn, N.Y., his hometown. She called the WSAZ newsroom looking for information. She said he moved here about two years ago to be with his son, who is three. She said Gilbert was living in an apartment of his own that recently caught fire. Since then, he's been homeless. She says he was actually planning to move back to New York tomorrow.

Gilbert was recently arrested for public intoxication and obstructing—both are misdemeanors. No word from police on a suspect in this case.



UPDATE 1/27/11 @ 2:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-- Police have released the name of the man shot to death inside a Huntington apartment building Wednesday night.

They say the victim is Dashawn Gilbert, 23, of Huntington. Police say Gilbert died of a single gunshot wound.

Police say Gilbert is from New York.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 1/26/11 @ 11:55 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police are investigating a body found Wednesday as a homicide, according to a news release.

The release was sent late Wednesday evening. It says HPD received a call of a deceased person at 5:56 p.m. Wednesday. The person was found at 701 1/2 8th Avenue.

Investigators have been conducting interviews throughout the evening and have numerous leads to pursue, according to the release.

The name of the person is being withheld until family is notified.

A cause of death will be released when the autopsy is complete, the release says.

HPD says there is no further information to release. The news release says they anticipate being able to release further details Thursday evening.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/26/11 @ 11 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Many questions remain in what police are calling a suspicious death after a man was found shot Wednesday evening.

Special Crime Scene investigators with the Huntington Police Department were called in after officers found a man's body inside a third-floor apartment at the corner of 7th Street and 8th Avenue.

Some of the residents in the building said they heard at least one shot.

So far, there's no word on any suspects or witnesses. We did, however, see one resident telling detectives how he saw an individual leaving the building and heading around the corner.

While detectives aren't quite ready to call this a murder, they've also shied away from quickly labeling it a suicide. That's why a criminal investigation continues.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The death of a man found shot Wednesday evening at a residence Wednesday evening in the 700 block of 8th Avenue is being investigated by Huntington Police.

Chief Skip Holbrook referred to the death as "suspicious," but said further investigation will be needed to determine if the death was a suicide or homicide.

The man's body was found inside an apartment.

A news release is expected later tonight or early Thursday from Huntington Police. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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