Two arrested in 2019 Columbus County triple murder

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Family members mourn the deaths of a mother, father and their 5-year-old son after the three were shot to death on Brittany Lane (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office has made two arrests in the deaths of a two adults and a 5-year-old child.

The family of three was brutally murdered in September at a home on Brittany Lane just outside of Whiteville.

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According to a news release from the NC State Bureaus of Investigation, a 17-year-old was arrested Monday on three counts of murder, one count of 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 and possession of stolen goods.

The juvenile was booked at the Columbus County Detention Center on a $450,000 bond.  The bond was increased to $5.4 million dollars on Tuesday during a first appearance.  The juvenile has since been moved to a different detention facility.

On Tuesday, Prentis Deshawne McDuffie a.k.a. “Chopper,” 30, was arrested on the same charges; three counts of murder, one count of 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 and possession of stolen goods.

Prentis McDuffie (Photo: Columbus Co. Sheriff’s Office)


McDuffie was booked at the Columbus County Detention Center with no bond.

They’re accused of shooting and killing Leonel Cipiran Noyola, 29, Nancy Trujillo Espinoza, 25, and Alexis Cipiran Trujillo, 5.

In September, family members told WWAY the suspects broke in the back door before killing Espinoza.

The family says the suspects then tortured and killed the five-year-old.

They say Noyola ran out of the house for help, but was shot in the yard and collapsed.

Another family member was also shot. She survived and was later released from the hospital.

According to the NC Department of Public Safety, McDuffie has a long criminal history dating back to 2006.