PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Marianna man raped and sexually trafficked a 14-year-old who he plied with drugs and threatened to kill in order to keep her in line, according to Jackson County Court records.
Jerry Upshaw Jr., 44, is charged with sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a child, after the victim came forward with a harrowing account about how Upshaw sold her to multiple men who continuously gave her drugs.
Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies were contacted by another police department out of state who said they had evidence about Upshaw’s alleged crimes. Deputies then interviewed the victim who said Upshaw appeared to run a lawn service business but that his real business was drugs and prostitution.
She said that she and her mother did drugs with Upshaw and that he eventually convinced her to come to his house alone for a party. But when she got there she discovered that there was no party, court records show. She added that Upshaw gave her so many drugs that she was impaired and that multiple men then raped her.
After it was over he threatened to kill her and her mother if she didn’t continue to do whatever Upshaw told her and return to the home whenever he demanded it. Court records show that another witness in the case confirmed the victim’s account.
Court records state that the abuse went on for about a month until the victim moved out of state.
Upshaw was arrested this week. He is scheduled to appear before a judge for the first time Thursday. Upshaw was previously arrested earlier this year in what Jackson County deputies described as a large drug bust. In 2016 he was arrested for allegedly paying someone $200 for an arson in an insurance fraud scheme.