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Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- We began this investigation more than two months ago after a jury convicted husband Russ Faria.  Jurors believe he murdered his wife Betsy.

We've examined evidence as we've looked into nagging questions, you'll see unfold for the first time.

He screamed on the 911 call, "Ahhhhh. God no!"

It was two days after Christmas, 2011.

He screamed to the 911 operator, "She`s got a knife in her neck!"

He said he thought his wife Betsy killed herself as he exclaimed, "Why would she do this to me?"

A medical examiner said she was stabbed 55 times with her arms nearly severed.  Most of the stabbings occurred after she was dead.

Betsy`s Mom Janet Meyer called it, "A crime of passion, when you stab somebody over 50 times, it`s usually a crime of passion, a husband or wife.  I felt right away it was Russ."

He was the immediate suspect.   On a police interview tape a Detective told Russ, "She was stabbed over 25 times."  Russ yelled, "Oh my god, no!"  Another detective responded, "They`re still counting."

The Major Case Squad questioned him for days.

On the interrogation tape, one officer told Russ, "God is in this room right now."  Faria answered, "God knows I did not do this."

He did not back down.  He continued, "I did not do this. I did not do it."

In our joint investigation with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Robert Patrick and I interviewed Russ Faria in prison, less than three months after a jury convicted him.

I asked Russ, "Did you kill Betsy?"

Russ answered, "No, no I didn`t. No. I loved her and would not, could not do that to anybody let alone somebody that I love."

Evidence techs did not find a drop of blood on him.  Police did find bloody slippers in a closet and a light switch that appeared to be flipped on with something bloody.

I asked Faria in prison, "How do you explain bloody slippers?"  Faria answered, "Well, uhm judging by the way they looked, appeared to me like they were dipped."

Only those slippers.  No bloody footprints.

Faria continued, "I hadn`t even been wearing my slippers and then I`m told that they were in my closet, but I never put them in my closet."

Defense attorney Joel Schwartz added that police found no evidence of clean up.  He said, "They took the pipes to look for blood.  There was no evidence of blood in the shower or in the drain pipes."

In trial, the state focused on Faria`s demeanor.  Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey told jurors, "He never needed a Kleenex."

We also asked Faria why he appeared emotionless during our prison interview.  Faria said, "Well, I`ve put a lot of things behind me. I`ve made peace with a lot of things. I`ve shed a lot of tears, when she was diagnosed both times with cancer. I loved her. I love her still.  I didn`t kill her."

Four alibi witnesses said Russ was with them from 6-9 pm in O`Fallon, MO.

The drive from their house to Troy, puts Faria home within minutes of him making the 911 call.  It`s a call Betsy`s family believes is telling.

Betsy`s sister Mary Rodgers said, "Your wife is laying there dead. You`d be bawling. You`d be hard to communicate with. He would stop.  She`d ask him a question. He`d answer it then start right back up with the wailing."

How could he think it was suicide?  From prison Faria answered, "She had threatened it previously. She had actually tried it previously, left notes and that. My mind wasn`t working right. I saw slashes on her arms and I jumped to conclusions."

He said he knew police would focus on him.  He`s the husband.  But even sitting in prison, after a jury convicted him and a judge sentenced him to life, he says he would not change how he handled it.

His attorney Joel Schwartz said, "He wouldn`t take time served on a misdemeanor."  I exclaimed, "Really?"  Schwartz answered, "Yeah. He didn`t kill his wife."

Schwartz said he told prosecutors they had a case, but not against Russ.  He explained, "My point was, appoint me as special prosecutor and I`ll prosecute the right person and I`ll guarantee you a conviction."

Next: Secret Evidence

Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder (Part 2)

Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder (Part 3)

7 comments

  • Jimmy smith

    Could this jury possibly be the dumbest 12 people on earth… How can you people live with yourselves. We doubt guilt and are thankful that there is an appeal process?!? … Unreal.. Karma is real and you will all undoubtedly feel it at one point or another… This man is innocent and god will make all wrongs here right… Our justice system can be terrible at time

  • Shelly

    I had the misfortune of being raised in Troy. I would not use the word “dumb” to describe the jurors. Uneducated would be a word I would use (the last time I was home a sign pronounced that Lincoln County School District spent less money per student than any other school district in the state. Furthermore, there is a very low amount of graduates that go on to pursue higher education. Typically those that do, tend not to return. Unworldly is another fitting word. Unworldly, is also a good descriptor. A fair number of people from Troy (that I know personally) have never left Missouri. Those are the perfect conditions to create a jury incapable of making astute decisions.

    The biggest problem would be the justice system in that town. It is difficult to refrain from making negative personal attacks. But I do not have a high personal opinion of the Judge, the Prosecuting Attorney, and, in particular, the Lead Investigator. Competent is not a word I think describes any of them. In the “good ole boy” mentality of Troy, nepotism and putting your “friends ‘n’ family” in positions of power ranks higher than considering ability or competence.

  • Brenda

    I can’t believe 12 jurors found this man guilty! Our justice system is so messed up. The detectives ignored real evidence when it came to Pam Hupp. If you ask me, it is very obvious who killed her. It angers me that someone like Pam can get away with what she did and make money doing it. What is wrong with our world? This is ridiculous. Russ deserves his freedom.

  • FIN

    just watched the dateline nbc – on trial and looked up this website. Very suspicious and actually makes Pam Hupp a prime suspect in the face of the evidence. 1) Take the Jan 12th dispatch article which quotes an unnamed source: “Murder victim Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria feared her husband and was about to remove him as the beneficiary of her life insurance policies, according to documents obtained Thursday from the Lincoln County courthouse.” And that this unnamed friend asserted Betsy Faria had $300,000 – to $400,000 in life insurance (1/12/2012 Susan Weich – Dispatch) Then from the dateline show last night. (was this motive presented by an unnamed source – Pam Hupp .) 2) From Dateline – uncertain as to time line. But appears to be within the 48 hours of first interrogation before first release of Mr Faria in which the detectives are examining Mr. Faria – Detectives assert as fact – His wife is scared of him AND that she was going to change beneficiary.
    3) In the same Dateline Fri march 13 broadcast. There appears to be a taped police interview in which Pam Hupp suggests a financial motive a) life insurance policy at work; Mr. Faria had a life insurance policy at work. b) that Mrs Faria was scared of Mr. Faria – pillow incident c) news was that she was going to take up a renter and that was what made him angry.
    ***NOTE – NOWHERE IN THAT INITIAL INTERVIEW WITH POLICE – DID PAM HUFF DISCLOSE THAT 4 DAYS BEFORE THE MURDER IN DECEMBER OF 2013 – THAT PAM HUFF WALKED INTO A LIBRARY ALLEGEDLY – TO HAVE A LIBRARIAN CLERK (?) WITNESS A BENEFICIARY CHANGE. This is a significant omission by deception
    by someone alleging a financial motive –
    Note – too we know that Pam Huff and Betsy Faria worked in the insurance industry and met years before. (As an agent- why would you not want to have a notarized document – why a librarian clerk.)

    For the 4 part interview – we also know that James Murphy’s wife Laura – had been befriended while she was in treatment. It was shocking to see that Laura who had (more then a year to live) family christmas card was used by Pam Hupp (with allegedly Betsy Faria to go door to door) to collect money for insurance payments for treatment. Yet according to Mr. Murphy – HE HAD NO KNOWLEDGE – NOR RECEIVED ANY OF THE MONIEs from what appears to be fundraising without authorization by the beneficiaries – and for whom $10,000 (per Pam Hupp) was collected but never distributed.

    At the very least – – The conduct of the Investigator who told State Farm to distribute the monies $150,000 to Pam Hupp months before and then coaching (submission of perjury?) Pam Hupp before her trial testimony to say that she had set up a trust for the children .. When at the time of the Detective trial preparation with Pam hupp never happened. And though the $150,000 had been distributed t Pam Hupp. to date – no monies has been received by the children of Betsy Faria.

    Clearly the Judges ruling to exclude Defense’s motion to cross examine Pamela Hupp as to motive – as conduct .. as to knowledge that only she had – as to failure to disclose to police in the initial interviews – of her status as a beneficiary.. Failure to disclose is significant in that the very same Pam Hupp – was suggesting to police with hours of the murder that Mr. Faria had motive.

    It is Judicial abuse- and reversible error. It blocks effective defense. Furthermore . for the DA Askey (sp.) to reference in her summation – evidence that was not there – the theory that there was a conspiracy of 5 to commit murder – without laying foundation is clear Overzealousness on the part of the prosecutor and at Best The Judge should have instructed the jury to disregard.

    There is so much in the case that is clearly wrong – I am glad that Dateline and the Dispatch are exposing a miscarriage for a fair and impartial trial.

  • Fantastic

    Was just looking at population and stats of Lincoln. Median income is about 33% less than the rest of Missouri. This is a hill billy town. Its easier to get these types of injustice results compared to a big city. 97% white too, so definitely alot of trailor part trash… explains the 4.5 hour time it took to return a verdict. They clearly did not go over the facts and discuss when a man’s LIFE is at stake on shady evidence. Even the judge would not allowed certain RELAVENT topics to be brought up. This town is corrupt. One of those old town racist town where the police, prosecutor, judge all sleep together in the same bed. Really feel bad for this guy. One other topic of importance, why would he kill his wife since she was going to die anyways? I’m glad I dont live here. Wish him the best.

  • anthony

    Obviously the detectives in this case should be writing traffic tickets and not investigating murders, unbelievable!! Also the jury of 12 Baboons should be ashamed of themselves, 4.5 hour deliberation in a case that prosecution has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt! THIS MAN SHOULD GET A NEW TRIAL !!!! Hopefully in a new venue with 12 jurors with brains!!!!!!!!

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