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By Erin Smith

A Brunswick County couple who were convicted of severely abusing their child in 1997 are now facing first degree murder charges stemming from that incident. 

David Tripp Jr. and Robyn Noffsinger are both charged with first degree murder in the death of their son, David Reinhardt which was subsequently changed to David Stuart. 

According to the court record, On April 12, 1997, an EMT was called to the residence and Tripp and Noffsinger met them with 14 or 15 month old David, who could not breath. The court record reflects the child was transported to the Brunswick County hospital where doctors in the Emergency Room documented that his eyes would not dilate, there was bruising o the child’s face, the child was unable to breathe and there burns to his buttocks and genital areas. 

The court record reflects the child was transported to Duke University Medical Center and he was reported to also have a broken wrist, fractures of both legs and arms and blood in the fluid around his eyes. David Stewart’s brain was reported to have been severely damaged.

Prosecutors told the court on Tuesday that the Medical Examiner determined that David Stuart died as a result of injuries he suffered. 

Prosecutors said when David was three years old, he was adopted by a couple in Durham where he resided until his death in March 2018. 

“It took 21 years for David to die of his injuries,” said District Attorney Jon David.

Assistant District Attorney Ward said, “David never spoke, he was blind and he was deaf as a result of his injuries.”

Ward told the court that Tripp did enter a guilty plea in the child abuse case on July 21, 1998. He pled guilty to four counts of child abuse. 

Ward told the court Noffsinger was tried and convicted on charges of child abuse on July 29, 1998. She served an 11 year sentence.

Bond for  Noffsinger and Tripp was set at $1 million each. 

Noffsinger and Tripp also received court appointed attorneys and each have a Rule 24 hearing set for June 6 at 9:30 a.m. 

District Attorney Jon David said the case is a “remarkable case” because of the length time from the injuries being inflicted and the death of David Stuart. He also noted the trial in 1998 was very sensational.

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