Two arrests made in 2019 Columbus County triple murders

Two arrests made in 2019 Columbus County triple murders

COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Two people have been arrested in connection with a triple killing in Columbus County in Sept. 2019.

According to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Prentis Deshawne McDuffie, 30, and a 17-year-old juvenile were arrested and charged in the case this week.

A previous mugshot of Prentis Deshawne McDuffie.
A previous mugshot of Prentis Deshawne McDuffie. (Source: Columbus County Sheriff's Office)

First responders were called to a home on Brittany Lane outside of Whiteville just before 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.

When they arrived, they found four family members suffering from gunshot wounds.

Despite crew’s efforts to save the victims, Leonel Ciprian Noyola, his wife, Nancy Trujillo Espinoza, and his 5-year-old son, Alexis Trujillo, died. The child’s grandmother, Rafaela Noyola Jaramillo, was wounded in the shootings but survived.

The sheriff’s office later said that the shootings were a targeted attack and not a random act of violence.

The suspects reportedly stole the family’s 2011 silver Ford Fusion which was later located nearby on Twin Pines Road.

McDuffie, also known as “Chopper,” and the 17-year-old have been charged with:

  • three counts of murder
  • attempted murder
  • three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury
  • larceny of a motor vehicle
  • possession of stolen goods

McDuffie is being held without bond while the teen’s bond has been set at $5.4 million.

The SBI said the investigation is still ongoing.

McDuffie was previously charged with attempted murder following a Christmas Eve shooting in Horry County, SC in 2016. He was arrested in Columbus County a month later. The status of the S.C. case is not immediately available.

According to online records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety, McDuffie has prior convictions in Columbus County of second-degree kidnapping, assault and battery, and communicating threats.

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