COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The state of Georgia is winding down its case against three Columbus men facing multiple criminal street gang and murder charges in a 2021 double homicide.
Brothers Terrance and Homer Upshaw along with Roderick Glanton are facing multiple murder and gang charges.
They are accused in the June 2021 shooting death of 18-year-old Saiveon Pugh and 17-year-old Jesse Ransom.
The state put lead Columbus Police investigator Sgt. Kyle Tuggle on the witness stand to start the day Wednesday and when the judge let the jury go for the evening, Tuggle was still on the stand. He will be there Thursday morning when the trial resumes.
Tuggle spent seven hours taking questions from the prosecutor and defense attorneys.
Tuggle’s job after six days of testimony and a couple of dozen witnesses for the state was to clarify the case against the Upshaw brothers and Glanton.
There is a mountain of evidence introduced by the prosecutors including photos, guns, shell casings, clothing and masks. Today prosecutors added about 20 pounds of marijuana confiscated in two different searches to that pile of evidence.
They say about 5 pounds of it came from a house near Wilson Apartments that the Upshaw brothers and Glanton accessed. The rest came from Homer Upshaw’s girlfriend’s apartment when he was arrested about two weeks after the shooting.
Lead prosecutor Cara Convery alleges that the Upshaw brothers and Glanton operated a drug and party house on the edge of Wilson Apartments, a public housing complex off Veterans Parkway near River Road.
The defense claims the victims were about to perform a drive-by shooting on the house. The prosecution case is built around the assertion that the victims and co-defendants were in rival criminal street gangs.
Video of the shooting led investigators to Homer Upshaw. Here is how Tuggle says Homer Upshaw was developed as a suspect.
“When we looked closer at Homer Upshaw, we began to evaluate associates because we know there were more than two shooters,” Tuggle said. “There has to be additional people. We started looking at who he is associating with the most. That leads us to Facebook images of Roderick Glanton. As I am looking at these Facebook images of Mr. Glanton, I could clearly see one of the images of him on Facebook is the exact same clothing he was wearing the day of the shooting as depicted in the daytime footage leading into the nighttime. That is a clear indicator that that is one of our shooters that we have now identified.”
One of the interesting things Tuggle said was the video that police used to help break the case was not discovered by detectives until the morning after the shooting.
The video that was used to show law enforcement came from cameras mounted on a building at Wilson Apartments.
Judge Gil McBride has said that court will not be in session on Friday in observance of Veterans Day. Once the state rests its case, the defense will have the option of putting up evidence, including the testimony of the co-defendants.
Closing arguments with three co-defendants could take the better part of a day. This will easily push the trial into a Monday, which would start a third week.