Three in custody after fatal stabbing

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published December 3, 2017 | Updated December 8, 2017 3:20pm

WARREN — A total of three suspects were in police custody at press time, including two brothers, facing a range of charges tied to a stabbing near Eight Mile and Mound roads that left one man dead and his twin brother in critical condition Dec. 1.

Johnny Lee Whitfield, 42, reportedly surrendered at the front desk inside Warren’s Christopher M. Wouters Police Headquarters Dec. 2, a day after he was identified as the alleged attacker who stabbed two men in the 20800 block of Atlantic Avenue.

Police said Whitfield is a known drug dealer operating along Eight Mile. He reportedly engaged in a verbal argument with the victims at a party store at Eight Mile and Mound sometime before the stabbing occurred, while police and witnesses claimed the men had been involved in an ongoing dispute over the last week.

Police said it appears that Whitfield, also reportedly known on the street as “Chavez,” followed the victims to the address on Atlantic, where the alleged attack took place. Arriving officers found the two victims on the sidewalk with stab wounds. One of the victims and multiple witnesses identified Whitfield as the assailant, according to a press release from the Warren Police Department.

Both men were taken to a hospital, where Kyle North, 27, died. His brother remained hospitalized in stable condition with serious injuries at press time.

Whitfield was arraigned in the 37th District Court Dec. 4 on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to do great bodily harm. He was ordered held without bond and requested a court-appointed attorney.

His brother, Vernell Lamain Whitfield, 44, surrendered to Warren police Dec. 6 and was arraigned on a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder for his alleged role in the encounter. He indicated that he would retain his own defense counsel, but no attorney was listed in the file, according to court records.

Also arrested on Dec. 6 was 46-year-old Nathan Sutton, who police alleged drove the suspects in a vehicle away from the scene. He was arraigned as an accessory to a felony after the fact and requested a court-appointed attorney at his arraignment.

The judge set bail for both Vernell Whitfield and Sutton at $10,000 each.