Woman picks up drug charges after testifying in drug-case hearing

John Thompson • Oct 7, 2013 at 8:57 AM

ELIZABETHTON — A woman who had testified in a court hearing allegedly gave consent for deputies to search her car in the courthouse parking lot and Sgt. Harmon Duncan of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department reported finding methamphetamine, Klonopin and Xanax in the car.

Janet Cornett Tupay, 60, 102 Bertie Lane, No. 33, Hampton, was arrested on two counts of possession of schedule IV drugs and one count of possession of a schedule II drug. She is scheduled to answer the new charges Oct. 22 in Sessions Court.

Tupay had just testified in a Criminal Court hearing for Scotty Lee Lewis, 53, also of 102 Bertie Lane, No. 33. Lewis was seeking to have evidence from inside their residence in a drug case suppressed because consent had allegedly not been given for deputies to search inside.

Tupay testified that consent had been given for deputies to look outside the residence, but was vague about whether that consent extended to the interior. Following the testimony, Judge Robert Cupp denied the motion to suppress.

Immediately after the hearing, both Tupay and Lewis were arrested on outstanding warrants charging them with violation of probation. As Tupay was being prepared to go to jail, Duncan said he received a tip that there was methamphetamine in Tupay’s car, which was in the parking lot. Duncan said he requested and received consent to search from Tupay.

After uncovering the drug, he placed them on the hood of Tupay’s car for an inventory. As he was working, Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks passed by him in the parking lot. Duncan told him he had found the drugs after receiving consent from Tupay for the search.

“I hope you got that in writing,” Brooks said shortly after the consent-to-search hearing. Duncan assured him he had witnesses to the consent.

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