Murder trial delay continues for Adams County woman

Published 6:31 pm Monday, May 24, 2021

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NATCHEZ — A woman who allegedly shot and killed her longtime boyfriend in 2019 is still waiting on her trial while the court finds a new prosecuting attorney for the case.

The original trial date of May 17 for Jessica Aldridge, 33, was postponed indefinitely when Sixth District Attorney Shameca Collins’s office was recused by order of Judge Lillie Sanders.

Sanders said Monday that she approved Aldridge’s attorney Cynthia Stewart’s motion for a new prosecuting attorney as a precaution to avoid issues during the court process.

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Stewart’s motion stated that Aldridge spoke with attorney Paul Sullivan about her case before Collins was elected and Sullivan became her assistant district attorney.

Collins said Sullivan denies ever having this exchange with Aldridge.

Aldridge’s attorney also filed a motion to change the venue of Aldridge’s trial due to the amount of media attention on Aldridge’s case. Sanders said she has not heard this motion as of Monday because a new prosecuting attorney has not been assigned to Aldridge’s case.

“No motions have been scheduled at this time,” Sanders said. “We’re waiting to hear from the prosecutor and I’m not sure who that will be. People have been contacted and we’re waiting to see if their schedule will allow them to do it. … The court’s intention is to try this case by the end of the year.”

At approximately 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17, 2019, Aldridge, fired a fatal shot that killed her longtime boyfriend Joseph Cupit, 41, at her former residence at 27 Benbrook Road in Adams County, law officials said after the incident.

Aldridge pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder and told investigators that she and Cupit got into a heated argument and that Cupit had choked her.

After the incident, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said other witnesses corroborated Aldridge’s claim that there was a verbal dispute but not the physical aspects, including choking.

Patten also said that Aldridge allegedly fired the shot from the residence, striking Cupit in the chest by his vehicle. Patten said Cupit was leaving and Aldridge was not in immediate danger when the shot was fired.

Aldridge was released on house arrest in April 2020 while she was reportedly pregnant with the child of a male inmate in the Adams County Jail.

Aldridge’s bond was reduced from $200,000 to $100,000 in April 2020 by order of Judge Debra Blackwell after Aldridge produced medical documents to prove that being incarcerated at the jail would be a health risk to her during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Blackwell’s court order, Aldridge has been ordered to stay at home and wear an electronic monitoring device and pay the device’s monthly service fee. Aldridge is not allowed to have visitors or have access to social media, internet or phone, the order said.