UPDATED at 1:45 p.m. with charges filed
ST. LOUIS — Prosecutors on Thursday filed murder charges against a Jennings man in the January killing of a 7-year-old girl and her father in the Central West End of St. Louis.
Javonn Nettles, 28, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. He was being held without bail. Nettles lives in the 8800 block of Cherrywood Lane in Jennings.
Police haven’t provided a motive in the killing or said what connection Nettles had to his two victims.
The 7-year-old girl, Dmyah Fleming, was fatally shot about 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 along with her father, Darrion Rankin-Fleming, in the Central West End. They were sitting in a parked car in the 4000 block of Laclede Avenue when a gunman approached and shot them both, police said.
Rankin-Fleming, 26, died at the scene. His daughter died of her injuries at a hospital. Rankin-Fleming lived in the 11900 block of Cato Avenue in unincorporated north St. Louis County. Police said Dmyah lived in the 6200 block of Famous Avenue in St. Louis.
Charging documents say a search warrant for Rankin-Fleming’s phone revealed calls between him and Nettles “continued up until moments before the shooting including a message from Nettles indicating he was looking for Ranken-Fleming.
“There are no communications from the defendant to the victim after the time of the murder,” Officer Jeffrey Stege wrote in a probable cause statement.
Nettles denied seeing Rankin-Fleming the night of the killing, charges say. His fingerprint was found on the rear passenger door of Rankin-Fleming’s vehicle.
Dmyah’s great-aunt was relieved to hear police had arrested someone, some 10 weeks after the killings.
“We’ve been praying for this for a long time,” Selena Johns told the Post-Dispatch on Thursday. “We knew God was going to step in because that was a baby.”
Johns said the family lights candles in remembrance of Dmyah and her father at the crime scene every Sunday night. They also visit the girl’s grave every Sunday.
“Her losing her life, a girl 7 years old, it was so heartless,” Johns said.
Johns said she wasn’t familiar with the suspect but said most acquaintances are known by their street name or nickname. Even though the suspect has a pending drug case, Johns said she doesn’t think the shooting was over drugs.
“Drugs played no part in this,” she said. “I think it was somebody who just knew him and tried to rob him.”
The family believes the gunman shot Rankin-Fleming first, then killed Dmyah to leave no witnesses.
A reward of up to $30,000 had been offered for information leading to an arrest in the killings. It wasn’t immediately clear if the arrest was the result of a tip.
Nettles has convictions in St. Louis for robbery, armed criminal action and resisting arrest. He has a pending 2019 felony case of delivery of a controlled substance. He was scheduled to plead guilty in the case but failed to show up in court on March 29; the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
In 2013, Nettles pleaded guilty to charges of carjacking a woman at gunpoint in the 1400 block of Hodiamont Avenue, then fleeing police and crashing the woman’s car in 2011. Nettles was caught hiding in bushes near the scene and police found two handguns in the crashed car. Judge Margaret Neill, now retired, sentenced Nettles to 15 years in prison but suspended the sentence and put him on probation.
Nettles also was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses after police shot and killed the driver of a stolen car Nettles was riding in on Jan. 9, 2017. The Circuit Attorney’s Office, however, later dismissed those charges after a grand jury found insufficient evidence.
The felony murder case was based on Nettles’ alleged involvement in a car theft when his accomplice was killed.
Court records have said that Nettles lives on Maffitt Avenue in St. Louis, but police on Thursday said his current address is in Jennings.
Dmyah is among at least eight child homicide victims in the city this year. The victims on that list are 17 or younger.
Caion Greene, 9, was shot to death when gunmen opened fire on his family’s vehicle in the LaSalle Park neighborhood on March 7.
Journee Hemphill, 8, and her 1-year-old sister, Jakari Hemphill, were fatally shot, along with their mom, in their Dutchtown home Feb. 4.
Kathon Moore, 14, was shot dead on March 8 in the 1100 block of Hodiamont Avenue.
Teshawn Ford, 15, was shot to death when he went to a convenience store to exchange guns in the Greater Ville neighborhood Feb. 13.
Christa Medcalf, 17, died in a fiery crash after the vehicle’s driver was shot several times near Fairground Park on Feb. 20.
Paris Lee Jr., 17, was fatally shot in the Dutchtown neighborhood on Jan. 15.
Seventeen of the 262 homicide victims in St. Louis last year were 17 or younger.
In 2019 and the four prior years, the St. Louis Police Department’s statistics grouped juvenile victims as those 16 years old and younger.
In 2019, 11 children in that age category were killed. In 2018, four children ages 16 or younger were homicide victims. In 2017, there were nine child homicide victims. In 2016, there were six and in 2015 there were five.
The girl was identified by police Monday as 7-year-old Dmyah Fleming, who died at a hospital following the shooting in the Central West End.
Children injured or killed by gunfire in the St. Louis area in 2021
Below is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage of children who were injured or killed by gunfire across the St. Louis metropolitan area in 2021. Police define a child as anyone 17 years old or younger.
As of Aug. 27, at least 69 children have been injured in shootings in the region. Nineteen of them have died.
The 12-year-old who allegedly shot the older teen was arrested and referred to the juvenile court system.
Police said Marnay Haynes was found shot to death about 9:30 p.m. Monday in the 9900 block of Glen Owen Drive, south of Chambers Road.
Police were called about 1:15 a.m. Sunday to the apartment in the 1000 block of Spruce Street and found a 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound…
The shooting sparked a 10-hour manhunt involving multiple local police agencies. At 2:30 a.m. Friday, officers about a block from the crime sc…
Relatives identified her as Calyia Elizabeth Stringer, and said she was brain dead, and the family decided to donate her organs.
Around 8 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Lancashire Road, where they found the 8-year-old with a graze wound. The child was then …
Police were called to the shooting about 8 p.m. in the 4600 block of Oregon Avenue and found the child with a "superficial" gunshot wound to t…
A party ended up with the host and a guest suffering gunshot wounds after the 14-year-old host pulled out a gun early Sunday at downtown’s Bog…
Officers were told the 18-year-old instructed his little brother to bring him his gun and, as the 4-year-old carried the weapon, the child acc…
Both had lacerations to their face, so it was unclear the exact nature of their injuries, police said.
A Berkeley man is facing charges after a 3-year-old in his care ended up shot in the stomach.
Two of the victims are 17, and the other is 18.
A woman and her 9-year-old daughter were found shot dead inside an apartment in the 4200 block of Pleasant Street.
Two children, ages 4 and 9, were injured in a shooting in south St. Louis that also left a man hospitalized.
A 13-year-old girl was fatally shot Tuesday in the 10200 block of Lynncrest Court.
A 17-year-old was found critically wounded by a gunshot wound just a few blocks away from where a man was fatally shot in north St. Louis.
The boy and his 11-year-old friend were riding bikes about 7:15 p.m. in the 3100 block of Keokuk Street; a man got out and shot at the boys.
A 5-year-old boy was wounded after shooting himself in the finger in the city's Baden neighborhood.
A 15-year-old was shot in the Gravois Park neighborhood, then a 17-year-old was shot hours later in the Carr Square neighborhood.
The girl was walking in the 2000 block of East Warne Avenue in north St. Louis Saturday evening when she heard several gunshots and felt pain,…
Kyle Faulkner, 15, was shot and killed in a shooting in St. Louis' Carr Square neighborhood just north of Downtown.
A 16-year-old boy who sneaked out of his home to buy a firearm was shot in the neck in the 7800 block of Tennessee Place.
Police said 17-year-old Damon White was shot in the 11800 block of Larimore Road about 6:15 p.m.
A 15-year-old sitting in a parked car was injured when someone opened fire on the car.
The four kids bring to at least 50 the number of children injured or killed by gunfire this year across the St. Louis metro area.
Devonte Carter Jr. found the handgun in a dresser and shot himself in the head while handling the weapon, police said.
Police used a tourniquet to stop the teen's bleeding.
An 8-year-old was shot in the finger after accidentally firing a gun. A 14-year-old girl was grazed by a bullet hours later.
The 16-year-old was shot after swiping the restaurant's tip jar and assaulting a customer who tried to intervene, police say.
The shooting occurred about 11:30 p.m. near Louisiana Avenue and Chippewa Street, on the border of the city's Dutchtown and Gravois Park neigh…
Three teenagers 17 or younger were among approximately 20 people who were shot over the weekend.
Police said the boy was stable at a hospital after a bullet grazed him. He was inside an apartment when a gunman knocked on the door and was l…
The 14-year-old girl was in her room when a bullet came through the window and hit her in the arm, police said. A 17-year-old in another apart…
The boy's mother left him in a car while she unloaded groceries to take to a family member.
The girl was shot in the thigh in the 3800 block of Eichelberger Street.
Mikal Hilton found a pistol his father left under a couch and accidentally shot himself, police said.
A brief description of the crime doesn't say if the shots came from a passing car. It also wasn't clear if the shooting occurred at the family…
The shooting happened just before 7 p.m. at Martin's Market, at 4324 Martin Luther King Drive. Both victims were found inside the market.
The 17-year-old boy was shot in the shoulder, hand and leg about 8:45 p.m. as he drove east on I-70 near Goodfellow Boulevard.
The incident happened at about 3:30 a.m. in the 3800 block of Euclid Avenue, just north of Natural Bridge Avenue.
A 34-year-old woman was killed in the incident; an 18-year-old was injured.
The 4-year-old girl was accidentally shot and injured while playing with two other children, according to a police report.
Damaurion Williams, of the 3200 block of North Taylor Avenue in St. Louis, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The toddler was playing inside an inflatable bounce house with a man and a woman, both 23, when the shooting occurred. The toddler suffered a …
The rolling gun battle erupted just after 12 p.m. near the intersection of Forest Park Parkway and DeBaliviere Avenue, police said, and ended …
Both victims were conscious and breathing after being shot about 2:45 a.m. in the 5200 block of Gilmore Avenue.
The boy wasn't cooperating with investigators, officers said. He was shot outside an auto parts store.
Kathon Moore was shot about 5:20 p.m. in the 1100 block of Hodiamont Avenue. Police found him on the ground, and he was pronounced dead there.
Caion Greene, 9, was with family in their car in the 900 block of LaSalle Park Court, running an errand, when shots were fired at the car. Dar…
The 17-year-old boy told police he was walking on Natural Bridge Avenue when he heard a gunshot and then felt pain in his leg.
The shooter killed his wife, Roseann Williams McCulley, 34, her 13-year-old son, Kayden Johnson; and her daughter, Kaylee Brooks, 6. He took h…
Police said the girl is about 10 years old. She was walking with another person along Earl Drive when she was hit by gunfire. Avantay T. Willi…
The victim was identified by police Wednesday as Christa Medcalf, 17, of the 2000 block of Stillwater Drive in Hanley Hills. The car's driver …
A teenager fatally shot Teshawn Ford, 15, when they met to exchange guns in the parking lot of a convenience store, police said in court recor…
The incident took place at a home in the 12000 block of Garden Lane in Spanish Lake.
The children, Journee, 8, and Jakari, 1, were killed with their mother Kanisha Hemphill, 30, in a home in the 4100 block of South Grand Boulev…
Police are handling the deaths of Kanisha "Kani" Richardson and her daughter Ava as a murder-suicide. The two were found dead in a parked vehi…
Paris Lee Jr. was fatally shot in the torso before 4 p.m. in the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue.
A 13-year-old was apparently accidentally shot in the finger while in an alley in the 5700 block of Floy Avenue.