Father charged with murder of four-month-old daughter

Johnavan Spell (Photo courtesy of Pitt County Detention Center)

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Greenville Police has arrested the 22-year-old father of a four-month-old baby girl and charged him with her death.

Johnavan Spell was arrested Thursday and charged with an open count of murder. He was booked into the Pitt County Detention Center and is being held without bond.

Greenville Police announced they would hold a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday to discuss the investigation.

According to GPD spokesperson Kristen Hunter, GPD and Greenville Fire-Rescue responded to a home on the 100 block of Chippendale Drive on May 25 for a report of a unresponsive child.

The child was transported to Vidant Medical Center where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

"Although there were initially no obvious signs of injury on the child's body, an autopsy performed the next day revealed significant head trauma that wasn't visible prior to the exam," Hunter said.

Spell was arrested in 2013 when he was a student at Greenville's J.H. Rose High School, charged with stabbing a 15-year-old classmate in the neck with a 12-inch butcher knife student during a fight. He was charged with assault with attempted first degree murder.

Police at the time said the attack was believed to be gang related.

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