Court: Courtesy Shuttle murder victim led police to search for third suspect

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 6, 2014 

Before she died, Achievia Upshaw helped police catch her accomplices, according to court testimony.

Xavius Donnell Table, 21, and Deaisa Ransom, 24, faced felony murder charges during a Monday morning Recorder's Court hearing. Their alleged involvement in Courtesy Shuttle's burglary Tuesday led to the murder charge after owner Kenneth Hayes shot and killed Upshaw and wounded Ransom near the store's front door.

Table additionally faced six first degree charges of burglary, and one second degree count during Monday's hearing. Ransom was charged with one count of burglary.

Sgt. Joseph Hart said police arrived at the 5870 Veterans Parkway business at about 6:30 a.m., after receiving a call from Hayes' fiancée. When they arrived, they found Upshaw with a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen. Ransom, who also suffered gunshot wounds, was transported to Midtown Medical Center as well.

In an interview, Hayes told police he heard the sound of glass breaking during the burglary, and grabbed his Smith & Wesson hand gun to investigate. The part-owner saw one suspect in the store, but was unable to give a clear description of the suspect.

Police later discovered a large object had been thrown through the front door.

Initially, police suspected only Upshaw and Ransom in the burglary. But while she was being transported to the hospital, Upshaw allegedly told investigators that a third person — Table — was involved. She died shortly after arriving at Midtown Medical Center.

Hart said Hayes later fingered Table in a line up as the suspect who was potentially inside his store.

Police also found a Ford Explorer on scene with several stolen large screen TVs inside that were reported stolen that morning. Some of the TVs allegedly belonged to Alley Cat's Elite Tattoo World, which was burglarized about an hour before Courtesy Shuttle.

Fingerprints also connected Table and Ransom to the Dec. 11 burglary of Happy Nail & Spa on Veterans Parkway. Two flat screen TVs valued at $6,000 were taken during the burglary.

Ransom allegedly told investigators in later interviews that she was involved in the nail salon burglary, but did not admit involvement in Tuesday's burglaries, Hart told the court.

Table, after his arrest, allegedly admitted to burglarizing the tattoo store and nail salon.

Police have also connected Table to at least three burglaries in the Harris County and North Columbus area.

On Oct. 23, police stopped Table's girlfriend while she was driving a 2003 Chevy Tahoe. Goods inside the vehicle allegedly matched items reported stolen from two Columbus residences.

Items from a third home were later recovered. Those items were not disclosed during the court hearing.

Judge Michael Cielinski set no bond on Table's charges. Table was additionally sentenced to serve 60 days for violation of probation.

Ransom was given no bond on her murder charge. Her remaining charge was set at $100,000.

After the court hearing, Ransom's mother, Shonda Ransom, extended her regrets to the Upshaw family. However, she emphasized that she doesn't believe her daughter's alleged actions call for the felony murder charge.

"I'm very sorry for what happened to the Upshaw girl," Shonda said. "But if they are gonna be charged with something, they need to be charged with what they attempted to do. They didn't pull the trigger."

Under GA Code 16-5-1, a suspect can commit the offense of felony murder when "in the commission of a felony, he causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice."

Shonda also said she was unsatisfied with the way investigators had handled the case so far. She said she was never notified that her daughter was in critical condition in the hospital until two days after the events occurred.

"I didn't even know my child was shot and on life support," Shonda said. Her daughter was allegedly shot in the neck, shoulder and buttocks. "And (Deaisa) didn't even know about Upshaw. She just found out two days ago, and she didn't believe me."

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