Pamela Hupp, the Missouri woman who killed a 33-year-old man in an attempt to frame him as a hitman in connection with another murder she’s also suspected of carrying out, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The ruling was handed down on Monday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Hupp, 60, reportedly lured Louis Gumpenberger into getting into her vehicle three years ago. Prosecutors then say Hupp phoned 911 to report an intruder. She then shot the father of two while she was on the phone, planted a knife on him, also leaving behind a kidnapping note and a plastic bag containing cash.
“It’s been a long time coming and she is going to spend the rest of her life where she deserves to spend it,” Tim Lohmar, St. Charles County’s prosecuting attorney told Oxygen.com. “I’m really happy that we’ve been able to bring some closure to the family."
“Hupp has done nothing but cause heartbreak and grief to so many families,” Gumpenberger’s half-sister, Krystall Conn said, PEOPLE.com reported. In court, Conn called Hupp a “monster."
It’s an assessment that Lohmar said he tends to agree with.
“She’s certainly capable of being a monster,” Lohmar explained. “In this case, we saw the devious nature and the lengths she went to cover up her crimes. It’s hard to imagine a human being being capable of that.”
The St. Charles prosecuting attorney added that leading up to her sentencing, Hupp was smirking in the courtroom.
“I think it’s just another example of how she’s tried to manipulate and control,” he said. “She’s lost complete control now. And how a person can sit there, while they’re being sentenced to life in prison, and not show any remorse whatsoever is shocking.”
Hupp’s criminal defense attorney, Nicholas Williams, told Oxygen.com that he and his team were upset with the ruling.
“With her plea and yesterday’s sentencing, Ms. Hupp will move forward with her life,” Williams wrote via email. “It’s unlikely to be pleasant, but it is as fair as we could make it.”
Williams wouldn’t say if he agreed with the characterization likening his client to a “monster.”
“There is no true closure for victims of such horrendous loss; not from the legal system and not from words of condolence,” he added. “Yet, as humans, our heart [goes] out to those who are made to suffer at the hands of those we represent.”
Authorities suspected that Hupp deceived Gumpenberger into getting into her car in 2016 by telling him she was a producer for NBC’s “Dateline,” who needed subjects to re-enact a 911 call. Detectives stated Hupp had unsuccessfully attempted the routine on two other people.
“She was very calculated and looking for somebody that fit a particular profile,” said Lohmar during a 2016 news conference. “This victim unfortunately fit that profile — somebody who may not be sophisticated, somebody who might be easily persuaded by a decent amount of cash.”
Gumpenberger reportedly suffered from cognitive and physical impairment, stemming from a 2005 traffic accident, PEOPLE.com also reported.
“He was an innocent person whose life did not deserve to be extinguished by you,” St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham said during Hupp’s sentencing.
Hupp reportedly told dispatchers that Gumpenberger was an intruder who had trailed her home. The fake kidnapping note police found allegedly included details on her kidnapping, and instructions to take Hupp to the bank to collect “Russ’ money” before collecting the $10,000 contract on her head.
“Russ,” police say, is a reference to Russell Faria, the former husband of Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria, who Hupp is also suspected of murdering in 2011.
Gumpenberger’s murder, police said, was part of an elaborate scheme to cover up the killing of Elizabeth. Her husband was convicted in her murder, but that conviction was overturned after Russell’s defense successfully argued during a 2015 retrial that the prosecution had originally overlooked Hupp as a suspect. The last person to see Faria alive was Hupp, who authorities noted stood to significantly benefit from Faria’s outstanding $150,000 life insurance policy.
“I would have liked to see her [admit] to her crimes, but [am] relieved because she will be locked up and won’t be able to kill anyone again,” Faria said during the course of Hupp’s most recent murder trial, St. Louis television station KMOV reported.
Officials said they’re also looking into whether Hupp was responsible in the 2013 death of her mother Shirley Neumann.
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