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Murder Charges Refiled Against Pam Hupp in Fatal Stabbing of Friend Betsy Faria
"It was too much to ask of witnesses and Betsy Faria's loved ones” to travel to another county for the murder trial, Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood said.
Prosecutors abruptly dropped and re-filed murder charges against Pamela Hupp, the Missouri woman accused of killing her friend more than a decade ago.
Lincoln County prosecutors announced Friday that they'd refiled charges against Hupp in the 2011 murder of Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria, after dropping them a short time earlier. Faria’s murder is the basis of the 2022 NBC true crime miniseries The Thing About Pam, which starred Renée Zellweger as the titular Hupp.
Why were murder charges refiled against Pamela Hupp?
Prosecuting Attorney Michael Wood said he refiled charges to petition for a closer venue to Lincoln County, where the alleged crimes took place. The case was originally slated to get underway at a Greene County court in Springfield, Missouri, roughly four hours away. Lincoln County prosecutors had last year agreed to a request by Hupp’s team to change the venue of the made-for-TV trial due to media coverage, which is expected to last a month, St. Louis television station KSDK reported.
“While I have every confidence that a Greene County jury would have delivered appropriate justice, I believe we have the ability to find an impartial jury much closer to home — a jury that will allow for more efficient and less burdensome delivery of justice,” Wood said in a statement on October 27.
Wood explained that "the physical distance between the scene of the crimes and Greene County will cause cumbersome and inefficient delivery of justice.” The lead prosecutor also added in separate statement to CBS News that holding the trial in Springfield, about 200 miles southwest of Lincoln County, “was too much to ask of witnesses and Betsy Faria's loved ones."
The decision was also partially based on cutting down costs and the traveling time between the two counties for all involved in the case, officials said.
“If possible, we should seek to make the burden these parties have been forced to shoulder a bit more manageable and have them avoid the time, cost, and stress of traveling to a location hundreds of miles away over multiple weeks,” Wood stated.
Faria was found stabbed to death on December 27, 2011. She suffered 55 stab wounds. Hupp’s husband, Russell Faria, was first arrested and found guilty of Faria’s killing, but his conviction was later overturned.
Pamela Hupp is in prison for Louis Gumpenberger's murder
Hupp is currently serving a life sentence at Missouri’s Chillicothe Correctional Center for the murder of 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger, who she fatally shot in 2016 in an attempt to frame him as a hitman in connection with Faria’s murder.
According to prosecutors, Hupp posed as a Dateline producer and lured Gumpenberger, who was disabled, to her car where she promised him $1,000 to re-enact a 911 call for a show segment. Once inside, Hupp fatally shot Gumpenberger.
Hupp later told police that Gumpenberger had attempted to rob her at knifepoint, at which point she shot him in self-defense. Prosecutors say Hupp unsuccessfully attempted to carry out the same scheme on two other individuals before targeting Gumpenberger.
Hupp was arrested in 2016 on first-degree murder charges in connection with the killing. She stabbed herself in the neck and wrists with a pen approximately an hour after she was taken into custody. Prosecutors would later describe Hupp as a “monster.”
Lincoln County prosecutors re-opened Faria’s case in 2019, shortly after Hupp’s conviction in Gumpenberger’s murder. She was charged with first-degree murder in Faria’s killing in July 2021. Hupp pleaded not guilty. She's long-denied involvement in Faria's killing.
Prosecutors contend Hupp killed Faria to cash in on a $150,000 life insurance policy, which she'd become a beneficiary of just days before the victim's slaying, according to NBC News. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Hupp.
A judge in Greene County had set Hupp's trial in the case for the summer of 2025, and Wood has said that he doesn't expect the charge refiling to change that timeframe, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Oxygen.com has reached out to the Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and Hupp’s lawyer for further comment.
Faria was from Troy, Missouri, according to her obituary. Her family described her as a “loving wife,” a “very positive” person and a caring and selfless “best friend.” For years, her unsolved murder had haunted her loved ones.
“I have faith that one day we will have all the answers,” Julie Swaney, Faria’s sister, told People in a 2017 interview.
Detectives also previously said they were probing whether Hupp was involved in the mysterious death of her own mother, 77-year-old Shirley Neumann. Neumann was initially believed to have fallen to her death in 2013. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office changed Neumann’s manner of death from “accidental” to “undetermined” in 2017, according to NBC News. Hupp hasn’t been charged in connection with the case.