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‘Very manipulative … sociopath’: Man charged with murder of infant previously served 45 days in jail for shaking his other newborn blind and strangling woman

Sterling Harrison Cummings appears in two different mugshots

Sterling Harrison Cummings appears in mugshots from August 2012, on the left, and May 2023, on the right, for shockingly similar crimes. (Moore County Sheriff’s Office; Guilford County Sheriff’s Office)

A North Carolina man charged in connection with the death of his infant son has also served jail time for abusing his other newborn boy nearly a decade ago, authorities say.

Sterling Harrison Cummings, 33, stands accused of one count each of murder in the first degree and felony child abuse over the May 2021 death of his 3-month-old son. The defendant was arrested on Monday after a nearly two-year-long investigation, according to a press release issued by the Greensboro Police Department.

On the day in question, officers and Guilford County EMS responded to a residence on Pepperbush Drive in response to a medical cardiac call, police said. There, first responders performed “life-saving measures on a male infant who was in distress,” the press release says. The boy, who is not being named, was rushed to Moses Cone Hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.

At the time of the incident, the infant was being watched by his father, police said. Court documents obtained by Greensboro-based CBS affiliate WFMY allege the boy was in perfect health at the time and that his mother had gone to get food. When she returned home, her son was not breathing and she dialed 911, according to police.

“Cummings provided inconsistent statements to responding officers and the scene was determined to be suspicious,” the police department’s press release alleges. “Detectives began conducting interviews, Forensics began processing the crime scene, and the death was further investigated as a homicide.”

A similar set of circumstances played out in August 2012.

During that initial incident, Cummings’ first biological son, since-adopted Andy Trepcyk, was shaken to the point that he went fully blind and now has cerebral palsy, as well as a host of other ailments. Andy was 3 weeks old at the time.

“The child is very fortunate to be alive,” the Southern Pines Police Department said in comments reported by WFMY.

At the time, Cummings and Breanne Fowler, Andy Trepcyk’s biological mother, were charged with child abuse, Goldsboro, North Carolina-based CBS affiliate WNCN reported in October 2016. For years, the case progressed slowly, until Cummings was arrested in a separate case for beating and strangling a woman in 2015. Ultimately prosecutors decided to join the two cases and negotiated a plea deal with Cummings that saw him plead guilty to child abuse and assault in exchange for a 45-day jail sentence with five years probation.

“The DA’s position was that it was a hard case to try because neither defendant was saying much of anything,” Allan Trepcyk, Andy Trepcyk’s adoptive father told WNCN, referring to the Moore County District Attorney’s Office. The sentence was reportedly accepted in June 2016 by North Carolina Superior Court Judge James Webb.

The adoptive parents of Cummings’ younger biological child recently spoke with WFMY in light of the latest charges.

“He’s very manipulative, he’s a sociopath,” Tracy Trepcyk, Andy Trepcyk’s adoptive mother said. She and her husband appeared in court at Cummings’ first appearance this Tuesday.

“I just felt like we needed to be here to be an advocate for our son because I don’t feel that justice was properly served,” Allan Trepcyk said. “In this case, I don’t wanna take away from what happened. I can’t even imagine what they have to go through but you know what, I refuse, while I’m still alive, to not fight for Andy because someone has to.”

Cummings is currently being detained in the Guilford County Detention Center without bond.

He has reportedly been appointed a capital defense attorney.

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