Tyler Flach was sentenced to 25 years to life on Feb. 28 for the 2019 murder of Oceanside High School student Khaseen Morris.
Flach, 22, of Lido Beach, will begin serving his sentence at upstate Fishkill Correctional Facility.
Morris, 16, had been a student at the high school for only 10 days when he was stabbed death at an Oceanside strip mall, a popular after-school hangout.
In court two weeks ago, Judge Howard Sturim denied the defense’s previous motion to overturn the second-degree murder conviction, and then members of Morris’s family read impact statements. Flach never looked back at them.
“I’m sorry,” he told the Morris family after the victim impact statement and before sentencing. “I hate that day. I hate myself for accidentally causing the death of your son.”
Sturim then addressed Flach directly, telling him to look around the courtroom. “You’ve affected each one of their lives, and none of them in a good way,” the judge said. “You’ve hurt the family of Mr. Morris, friends of Mr. Morris, you’ve deprived them of a son, sibling, friend and a loved one. On the other side of the room, you’ve hurt your own parents and friends.”
On Sept. 16, 2019, Flach and his friends attacked Morris and several of his friends on Brower Avenue in Oceanside, an assault that bystanders caught on video and which gained national attention.
During the fight, Flach stabbed Morris in the heart. Morris was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospitals, now Mount Sinai South Nassau, where he died shortly after.
“Why — to what end?” Sturim asked Flach. “You brought a knife to a fistfight. You killed a young man who didn’t even know you, you didn’t even know, to impress the people that you barely knew. You made Khaseen Morris pay the ultimate price because of a disagreement that wasn’t even yours. You’re about to learn a very harsh lesson. You’re about to spend many, many years in prison for your actions.”
During Sturim’s statement, Flach interrupted him, shouting out, “We were kids, we were kids, we were kids!” Morris’s family members yelled back, “So was he!”
Sturim chastised Flach for speaking out, and pronounced the maximum sentence, 25 years to life on the charges of second-degree murder, gang assault, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. “You will suffer for your stupidity for years and years and years,” Sturim said.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed in the judge’s decision as to sentence today,” Flach’s attorney, Kevin Dunshee, said after court was adjourned, “as we were disappointed as to the verdict and as to the court’s decision on our 330 motion to set aside that verdict. Tyler’s family is prepared for a long appeal process in this case — we view this as the beginning, not the end. I think what you saw today was a young man who’s filled with remorse for a tragic accident. Tyler is many things. He’s not a murderer. He never intended to kill anyone.”
Dunshee claimed that there were many issues that were mishandled during the trial, including evidence.
The Morris family said they felt that justice had been achieved with the sentencing. “Khaseen was heard, his innocence was heard, and everyone got to see Tyler Flach for who he really is,” Keyanna Morris, Khaseen’s sister, said after the sentencing. “He tormented communities and finally, sadly, it took my brother’s life for it to be stopped. But I’m happy to say he won’t be able to take another innocent child’s life. Khaseen was everything to us, and it hurt so much,” she added before breaking into tears.
“We needed him to know, not only did he hurt our family, but he hurt communities, two different communities — not only Oceanside, but Freeport, he also hurt Long Beach,” Kedeemah Morris, Khaseen’s other sister, said of Flach. “He chose to do what he did. He chose to get in that car. He chose to bring a knife, he chose to stab my brother. All of those were his decisions, thoughtful decisions. So I refuse to entertain any sob story from Tyler.”
Kedeemah told reporters that throughout the trial, Flach had been walking in smiling, winking and blowing kisses with his head held high, as if he thought he was going to get away with murder. That’s why, she added, “I’m so happy that the real story was shown, and his intention was proved, and he got what he deserved.”