FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against the two individuals responsible for a fatal shooting that took place in Asbury Park last summer, including a juvenile defendant who earlier this week was waived up to adult court upon motion by the State, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.  

Lydell Brown, 19, and Joseph Argilagos, 17, whose identity had previously been withheld due to his age, are both charged with first-degree Murder and two related second-degree weapons offenses.

Shortly after 5:45 p.m. on Friday, July 8, 2022, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to a report of gunfire originating from the 100 block of Prospect Avenue, near the intersection with Atlantic Avenue.

Upon arrival at the scene, officers encountered 19-year-old Dariel Vernet of Asbury Park, who had sustained multiple gunshot injuries. He was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased approximately one hour later.

The investigation into Vernet’s death, led by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau and the Asbury Park Police Department, resulted in Brown and Argilagos, both Asbury Park residents, being identified as the individuals responsible. Argilagos was apprehended just days after the shooting, and Brown was located and arrested without incident in Toms River (Ocean County) in May 2023 by members of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Asbury Park Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The Prosecutor’s Office filed motions to keep both defendants detained pending the outcome of the case against them.

“We do not take any decision to seek to waive a juvenile defendant up to adult court lightly – many factors are carefully weighed, including the severity of the crime, the precise age of the defendant, and the degree of the defendant’s culpability,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “In this case, considering that a life was taken in such intentional and violent fashion, we strongly believe that this waiver serves the interests of justice.”  

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact MCPO Detective Sergeant Christopher Guy at 800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Department Detective Anthony Troublefield at 732-774-1300.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Caitlin J. Sidley and Alexandra Strzykalski.

Argilagos is being represented by John J. Perrone, Esq., with an office in Long Branch, and Brown is being represented by Emeka Nkwuo, Esq., with Lomurro Law in Freehold Township.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendants have all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.