Fort Liberty soldier accused of killing daughter appears in court

Michael Perchick Image
Wednesday, July 3, 2024
Fort Liberty soldier accused of killing daughter appears in court
A Fort Liberty soldier charged in the February 2023 death of his 8-month-old daughter faced a judge during a pre-trial hearing for his court-martial.

FORT LIBERTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fort Liberty soldier charged in the February 2023 death of his 8-month-old daughter faced a judge Wednesday morning during a pre-trial hearing for his court-martial.

No recording devices were allowed in the courtroom on post, though the victim's grandmother, Misty Bray, sat in.

"(She was) just full of life. She talked so much. She just had so much to say, you know, and we would just laugh because when she entered the room, you just knew she was there. She made sure that everybody knew if she was there," said Bray.

According to previous reporting by the ABC11 I-Team, the military prosecutor previously said Sgt. Gabriel Ceville said in text messages to his wife that his head hurt and Misty Delatorre was screaming. Shortly after that, he texted that the baby was unresponsive and had thrown up.

Records show he called 911 to report his daughter was not breathing. The baby was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and died a few days later.

An autopsy ruled Misty died of blunt force trauma to her head and neck, and the report states law enforcement suspected foul play.

Prosecutors said doctors said Misty had severe brain and eye injuries comparable to a bad car crash and too many hemorrhages to count.

In May 2024, Ceville was charged with unpremeditated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and domestic violence. He deferred entering a plea and did not choose whether he would be tried before panel members or a judge.

"(Ceville) looked at me and I looked at him. I'm not scared of him. I'm not scared of any of them. They're going to know I'm there," said Bray, who wore a T-shirt with a picture of her granddaughter.

Ceville's trial is set to begin on Jan. 3.

"I just can't believe it. Now we have to wait almost two years after her murder for him to be tried and charged," said Bray.

At this time, he is not facing confinement.

"To allow him to be walking around as a free man? You know, like nothing has happened and my granddaughter's autopsy shows at all," said Bray.

ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson attempted to speak with Ceville in May, shortly after he was charged. At the time, he declined to comment, directing Wilson to his legal representation.

The judge set a hearing in September for pre-trial motions.