Robyn Lynn Noffsinger, 41, and David Raefore Tripp Jr., 45, have already done prison time for the physical abuse of Noffsinger’s biological son David. In 1997, the child, then age one, was sent to a hospital for head trauma, and other injuries. He survived, but this case is starting up once again. He passed away March 6, according to Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David, and the adults are now being charged again, this time for murder.
A Brunswick County grand jury returned an indictment on Monday, and the defendants were arrested the day after. D.A. David attributed the victim’s recent passing to the abuse from years ago. In many ways, the victim was “still an infant” at the time of death, requiring serious medical care in the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars. Victim David, who was 14-months-old during the attack, sustained brain trauma, had a broken arm, and was dipped into a “hot liquid,” causing burns to his genitals and buttocks, D.A. David said. It more than took its toll. Victim David never grew to be no more than four feet fall, and could not talk. He was blind, was wheelchair bound, and his skull thickened in response to the beating, so much so that he appeared deformed.
Brunswick County jail records show that Noffsinger stands at 5’2″. Tripp is listed as 6′, but Jon David mentioned that it’s unclear if he’s the biological father–Noffsinger did not name one in the birth certificate.
Both defendants seemed surprised at being newly arrested, the D.A. said.
They were both previously convicted for the 1997 abuse, with Tripp spending 10-a-half-years in prison, and Noffsinger 11-and-a-half years, according to David. They were never married, and are no longer a couple, both having since remarried, the D.A. said.
During the press conference, Jon David said that even at the time of the convictions, it was suspected that the victim might one day die from the injuries, and Tripp’s plea agreement reserved the right to argue a double jeopardy defense if he was charged again in the case. This defendant’s new attorney W. James Payne told Law&Crime that an important detail was omitted from the D.A.’s press conference: The plea agreement also established that the conviction could not be used against Tripp.
The defendants had their first appearance in court on Tuesday, a Brunswick County Superior Court clerk told Law&Crime. Noffsinger’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon. She and Tripp remain in custody at Brunswick County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
[Mugshot via Brunswick County]