By the Associated Press
TROY, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri sheriff’s department has reached a $2 million settlement with a man who spent more than three years in prison for his wife’s killing before the conviction was overturned, his lawyers said Monday.
An insurance company has agreed pay the money to Russell Faria, of Lincoln County, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“He’s thrilled,” said one of Faria’s attorneys, Joel Schwartz. Lawyers for the three current and former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officers named in the suit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria was killed in 2011. Russell Faria was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, though he insisted that the crime was committed by his wife’s friend, Pamela Hupp, who has never been charged in Betsy Faria’s killing and has denied that she did it.
Faria’s conviction was overturned in 2013 and he was found not guilty at a retrial.
Meanwhile, Hupp was convicted of killing a mentally disabled man in 2016 and is now serving life in prison without parole.
Faria alleged in the lawsuit that he was arrested without probable cause, that police fabricated evidence and failed to investigate Hupp. Lawyers for police are not admitting wrongdoing in the settlement, Faria’s lawyers said.
Faria found his wife dead in December 2011. She had been stabbed an estimated 55 times. She was dying of cancer at the time.
Hupp was the last known person to see Betsy Faria alive and had been named the new beneficiary of a $150,000 life insurance policy days before the killing.
Hupp is now imprisoned for fatally shooting 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger in August 2016 at Hupp’s home in O’Fallon. She entered a 2019 plea that didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction.
In that bizarre case, Hupp staged a fake kidnapping to divert attention from herself in a re-investigation of the Faria killing, prosecutors said. They claim she cruised St. Charles County, claiming to be a producer for NBC’s Dateline in need of help reenacting a 911 call, and recruited Gumpenberger, who had mental and physical disabilities from an accident.
Hupp shot Gumpenberger while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, claiming that Gumpenberger had kidnapped her at knife-point. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said her claims unraveled quickly upon investigation.