Upshaw requests change

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tiffany Upshaw requested a change of venue for her murder trial this week, claiming media coverage had ruined the chances of a fair trial in Pike and surrounding counties.

Upshaw was arrested July 8, 2013 and charged with murdering Melvin Scott, her boyfriend and the father of her child.

According to a motion filed by Upshaw’s attorney, J. Carlton Taylor, “Clearly inadmissible evidence and evidence otherwise outside the province of proper jury consideration at trial has been publicized so extensively and in a manner so prejudicial to the interests of the accused that it has inevitably jeopardized her rights to a jury trial, to a trial before a fair and impartial jury, to effective counsel, to confrontation of witnesses, and to a jury selected from a fair cross section of the community…”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

An investigator with the Troy Police Department said Upshaw and Scott had gotten into an argument at 2 or 3 a.m. and Upshaw left their home to spend the night at her sister’s apartment.

At about 5:30 a.m., Scott and his sister came to the apartment looking for money they said Upshaw had. When he charged to the back bedroom, Upshaw followed. The pair struggled for her purse, which he assumed contained the money.

Among the purse’s contents was a .38-caliber pistol, which fell to the floor during the struggle. Both went for the gun, but Upshaw reached it first.

Scott and Upshaw fought for the gun and it went off, hitting a bystander in the hand. The police allege the second bullet hit Scott in the back, traveling through his aorta and lung. The bullet ended up in his esophagus and he coughed it up before dying at the scene.

A third bullet fired hit the television in the front room and ricocheted out a window.

A motion to preclude evidence from the trial was also filed this week. The motion requested the exclusion of “gruesome and highly prejudicial” autopsy photos.

Taylor said Upshaw planned to plead that she shot Scott in self-defense and the medical examiner’s report was all that was needed to establish how Scott died.

Taylor also asked that the court exclude a video taken after the shooting and a rap video Upshaw appeared in where she was holding a gun.

“Ms. Upshaw, although not facing the death penalty, is on trial for her life,” the motion stated.

The court’s decisions on the motions have not yet been filed.