BEAUFORT, SC (December 13, 2018) – A Burton man who whipped his 10-year-old stepson with an electrical cord and belt is headed to prison.
Marreese Jamaul Fripp, 37, was found guilty Wednesday by a Beaufort County General Sessions Court jury of unlawful conduct towards a child.
The jury heard testimony from a forensic nurse who examined the 10-year-old and three of his siblings, including one confined to a wheelchair. The scaring and bruising on the children’s legs, backsides, stomach and arms were consistent with being whipped by an electrical cord. The wheelchair-bound boy suffered defensive wounds on his arms.
“A 10-year-old boy was whipped with such force, he has lasting marks on his abdomen. To punish a child in this manner is not only violent, it’s criminal,” said Rebekah Luttrell of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Children are the most vulnerable people in our community and deserve the most protection.”
The disabled child, who is nonverbal, was punished whenever he soiled himself. The other children were beaten with extension cords and belts and made to stand against a wall while being punished. Authorities were alerted to the abuse when the biological father of one of the children spotted visible marks on that child’s stomach.
Fripp received a six-year sentence.
Fripp’s criminal record includes convictions dating back to 2000 for domestic violence, second-degree burglary, failure to stop for a blue light, unlawful carrying of a pistol, and cruelty to children.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Russo handed down Wednesday’s sentence.
Luttrell is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit. Formed in late 2017, the team specializes in the prosecution of abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes against vulnerable people.
Also, Wednesday in Beaufort County General Sessions Court, the Unit’s leaders, Hunter Swanson, secured a life sentence against a Hampton County man who raped a Bluffton woman during a home invasion in 2017.