Cops: Woman Murdered Friend, Framed Victim's Husband

Pamela Hupp's alleged scheme nearly succeeded
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2021 9:25 AM CDT
Cops: Woman Murdered Friend, Framed Victim's Husband
Pamela Hupp, in a 2016 booking photo.   (St. Charles County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney's Office via AP, File)

In 2013, Pamela Hupp testified that her best friend, Betsy Faria, had been murdered by her husband, Russ Faria, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Six years after the conviction was overturned, however, Hupp herself is accused of stabbing her best friend to death, then staging the scene to look like a domestic assault, per NBC News. Russ Faria's defense attorney suggested Hupp was the killer at his retrial in 2015. But it wasn't until she shot and killed a man outside her Missouri home in August 2016 that authorities began to look at her seriously. Hupp claimed the disabled man was an intruder. But investigators found she'd staged a home invasion, luring 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger to her home, then planting a note on his body suggesting he'd been hired by Russ Faria to attack her, per the Washington Post. She was sentenced to life in prison for the killing in 2019.

On Monday, she was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Betsy Faria, who had terminal cancer. Authorities will seek the death penalty. Unbeknownst to Russ Faria, Hupp had replaced him as beneficiary of his wife's $150,000 life insurance policy just four days before the murder, Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood said. On Dec. 27, 2011, Hupp allegedly drove Betsy home from a chemotherapy appointment, then stabbed her multiple times as she lay on a couch, leaving the knife stuck in her throat, per the Post. Prosecutors claim Hupp then used socks to smear blood around the house. Russ Faria called 911 after returning from a weekly game night. Wood said a new investigation will probe "potential prosecutorial and police misconduct" in the case, given that Russ Faria was convicted despite four alibi witnesses and cellphone and video evidence placing him away from the scene. (More murder stories.)

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