‘Sad on both ends.’ Columbus mother responds to guilty verdicts in son’s gang-related murder

Chimere Ransom felt sorry for all the families affected by the 2021 shooting that killed her son and a second Columbus teenager, and wounded two more.

The mother of 17-year-old Jesse Ransom spoke with reporters outside the courtroom Tuesday after a jury found three men guilty of murder and gang offenses, climaxing a trial that lasted more than two weeks.

Homer Upshaw, 28; his brother Terrance Upshaw, 31; and Rodderick Glanton, 28, now face life in prison when Judge Gil McBride sentences them at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.

They were convicted of acting in the interest of the Marlow street gang when they opened fire on a Dodge Dart at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street on June 14, 2021, killing Ransom, the driver, and back seat passenger Saiveon Pugh, 18, and wounding Ta’Journey Lee. 16, and Wandray Harris, 19.

Police said the four teens were members of the Zohannon street gang, and defense attorneys claimed the victims had targeted their clients for a drive-by shooting, so the suspects shot first in self-defense.

The jury did not accept that argument.

Chimere Ransom was in the courtroom as a clerk read the guilty verdicts. She had sat through the entire trial, which started Oct. 30.

“It was very draining, and tiring, but at the same time it’s still sad: I never wished bad on nobody, despite of what happened to my son and his friends, or how the lawyers may have even labeled them,” she told reporters afterward.

She was unfamiliar with gang culture, before the trial, she said.

“I don’t really know anything about gangs, but I am aware of the Zohannon gang,” she said. “The only thing I didn’t like in that case is how they denied that Terrance, Homer and Glanton were part of gangs, and they were. They just made it seem like Jesse, Savo, Wandray and Ta’Journey Lee were the only ones affiliated with gangs, and how they just go through half the trial calling them gang members, thugs and this and that.”

That sometimes got to her, she said: “I’m just glad it’s over with.”

She hopes other mothers will be spared what she has endured, she said, of the defendants adding, “It’s still sad on both ends. They just threw their whole lives away.”

She still misses her son, she said: “He’s silly, real silly and goofy.” She remembers his laugh, his smile, and all their talks together, she said.

“This is something I have to live with for the rest of my life, because I lost a child,” she said. “A part of me is gone. That’s something that can’t be swept under the rug.... And then with the trial, it’s like I’m reliving it all over again from day one.”

Her advice to others is “leave the gangs alone, leave the guns alone, do right, go to school and graduate, get a job, go to the military, do something..... You don’t want to put somebody through this.”

Defense attorneys and prosecutors return to their tables Tuesday afternoon after being show the verdict form by Judge Gil McBride before the verdicts were read in open court. The jury of eight men and four women found Homer Upshaw, 28; his brother Terrance Upshaw, 31; and Rodderick Glanton, 28; guilty on all charges. 11/14/2023
Defense attorneys and prosecutors return to their tables Tuesday afternoon after being show the verdict form by Judge Gil McBride before the verdicts were read in open court. The jury of eight men and four women found Homer Upshaw, 28; his brother Terrance Upshaw, 31; and Rodderick Glanton, 28; guilty on all charges. 11/14/2023

Here are the charges on which the three men were convicted:

  • Glanton and Terrance Upshaw were found guilty on seven counts of violating the state Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act; two counts of malice or deliberate murder; two counts of felony murder; four counts of aggravated assault; three counts of first-degree criminal damage to property; and one count of using a gun to commit a felony.

  • Homer Upshaw, was found guilty on eight counts of violating the state Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act; two counts of malice or deliberate murder; four counts of felony murder; four counts of aggravated assault; three counts of first-degree criminal damage to property; and one count each of using a gun to commit a felony, of being a convicted felon with a firearm, and of trafficking marijuana.

Homer Upshaw, 28, right, is represented by attorney William Kendrick. 11/13/2023
Homer Upshaw, 28, right, is represented by attorney William Kendrick. 11/13/2023

The evidence

The shooting happened outside a house across the road from Wilson Homes apartments, a complex police described as a 20-building housing area at 3400 Eighth Ave.

The suspects were in a single-family home in the 3100 block of Seventh Avenue, which prosecutors called a “trap house” where the men sold drugs.

Wilson Homes “has cameras all over it,” a police officer testified, and they recorded the teens’ Dodge Dart pass the house five times, before it crashed into a parked car after flashes of gunfire from outside the house.

The video was not close or clear enough to recognize faces, but it showed bystanders walk to and from the wrecked car, some reaching inside, before police arrived.

The first officer to find the shot-up Dodge said a woman was standing nearby, staring at it. “They’re all dead,” she told him.

Though about 60 bullets were fired at the car, only two or three shots were fatal.

Those bullets came from the same gun, a rifle that left 27 cartridge casings at the shooting scene, all from 7.62-millimeter rounds, according to state firearms expert Catherine Jordan.

Prosecutors said Glanton fired that rifle from the front steps of the Seventh Avenue house the suspects came from.

Homer Upshaw shot a .223-caliber rifle at the car, and Terrance Upshaw fired a 9-millimeter pistol at it, prosecutors said.

Lead prosecutor Cara Convery said no shots were fired from the teens’ car, though they had at least two guns inside.

Pugh was found in the back seat with a .22-caliber rifle in his lap, and Lee, the front-seat passenger, admitted having a 9-millimeter pistol that was never found.

Defense attorneys claimed bystanders walking to and from the car after the shooting likely removed other firearms.

Homer Upshaw was represented by William Kendrick; Terrance Upshaw by Shevon Thomas II; and Glanton by Allen C. Jones.

The shooting was part of a spate of gun violence that erupted in Columbus in 2021 as the Zohannons went to war with a gang called US World, authorities said. The Marlow gang was allied with US World.

The Marlows were a local, hybrid gang that included individuals from larger street gangs. Convery said Glanton was a Gangster Disciple, and Terrance Upshaw was a Crip.

A gang expert said the Marlows had two predecessor gangs based at Wilson Homes: the 5150 Taliban, known for wearing camouflage, and the Lime Green Money Gang, which used lime green as its signature color.

The name “Marlow” comes from the TV crime drama “The Wire,” in which the character Marlo Stanfield is an ex-drug kingpin and killer, the expert said.

Lead prosecutor Cara Convery makes her closing argument to jurors Monday morning. 11/13/2023
Lead prosecutor Cara Convery makes her closing argument to jurors Monday morning. 11/13/2023