Jefferson City accused of Thanksgiving murders heads to trial in January

Torry Upchurch

A Jefferson City man accused of a double homicide on Thanksgiving evening three years ago is scheduled for trial.

On Friday, a Cole County judge scheduled Torry Upchurch for a four-day jury trial to begin January 24, 2023.  He’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

The murders happened in two different locations in Jefferson City in 2019.  The first on W. McCarty Street where Upchurch allegedly shot 17-year-old Earle Key, Jr. at pointblank in the face.  About three hours later, Upchurch allegedly went to a home on Southridge Drive and shot 33-year-old Shantae Hill-Cook of Columbia multiple times.

Court records state Upchurch then drove to the police station where he implicated himself in both murders.

Friends of Hill-Cook’s told police that she and Upchurch had recently dated before the shootings.