Upshaw pleads guilty in boyfriend’s death

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tiffany Upshaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend Melvin Scott. TROY MESSENGER FILE PHOTO

Tiffany Upshaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend Melvin Scott. TROY MESSENGER FILE PHOTO

The woman charged with shooting her boyfriend to death last year pleaded guilty to an amended charge this week.

Tiffany Upshaw, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the July 2013 shooting death of Melvin Scott, the father of her child.

“We felt strongly this would be the end result, anyhow,” said Tom Anderson, district attorney.

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Upshaw was originally charged with felony murder.

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 male subject present at the scene said he had to pull the victim off of Upshaw and then she, without legal justification, shot him,” Anderson said.

The police allege the second bullet hit Scott in the back.

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

Anderson said the incident could be classified as a crime of passion because there was no cooling off period between the struggle and the shooting.

“We came to the conclusion, clearly it was not self defense. However, we felt like the jury would come back with manslaughter,” Anderson said.

At a previous court appearance, Upshaw’s lawyer, J. Carlton Taylor, said they planned to argue self defense.

Upshaw had requested a change of venue because of the media coverage the case has received. Taylor said the motion was not granted.

He and Upshaw accepted the plea agreement because it was in her best interest.

“We look forward to sentencing,” he added.

Upshaw could face as much as 20 years for the crime.

Anderson said the victim’s family approved the plea agreement and “requested us to seek the maximum at sentencing.”