Faria murder jurors speak

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LINCOLN COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - Two jurors are asking for justice after convicting Russ Faria of murdering his wife. They believe they should`ve heard evidence the Judge suppressed. The jurors sat down with Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes to discuss their verdict.

Ken Masterson said, 'Everybody there wanted to make the right decision. There was no one there that was like `oh the hell with you guys, he`s guilty.` Everybody there was willing to listen to everybody else.'

Masterson and Debbie Bray agreed they should`ve been able to hear everything. Bray said, 'You`ve got someone`s life in your hands and you want to make sure you`re making the right decision.'

Husband Russ Faria called reporting a suicide. A medical examiner said his wife was stabbed 55 times with her arms nearly severed. Evidence techs did not find a drop of blood on the husband. Police did find bloody slippers tossed in a closet and a light switch that appeared to be swiped with something bloody.

Bray said, 'Then when we find out later things that we didn`t get to hear it`s upsetting. I was very upset about it.'

Both jurors later learned that a Judge suppressed evidence of murder victim Betsy Faria`s life insurance and how the woman who drove Betsy home the night of the murder, benefitted from a $150,000 policy, that was just signed over into her name.

Masterson explained, 'My whole life I`ve heard `the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...` well that`s leaving out some of the truth.' He added, 'This isn`t you know, did somebody pay a $30 fine or 6 days in jail. This is life in prison. You need to know everything.'

Jurors began deliberations with a split vote 6-6. Then it was 10-2 guilty, with Debbie Bray holding out.

Bray said, 'I didn`t think there was enough evidence to convict how we were supposed to, but we did a lot of filling in the blanks. As the blanks were being filled in, my mind was starting to change.'

One of those blanks? She said prosecutors avoided talking about `when` they thought Betsy Faria died.

Bray said that 'was strange. They couldn`t give us an exact time of death. They couldn`t even give us a roundabout.'

During a pre-trial hearing, Faria`s defense asked the prosecution to pin down the time of death. An Assistant Attorney General, who helped prosecute, said they could not. He admitted that would, quote "literally be making it up" and he told the Judge '...this is something for the jury to decide."

So jurors came up with their own theory. They thought maybe Russ left his phone in a mailbox in Lake St. Louis, so his phone would ping away from the murder.

Bray added, 'He could`ve left it there, went back, because there was plenty of time.'

Masterson added that the alibi witnesses did not help Russ. He said, 'Their stories were a little bit too good, a little too rehearsed.'

The alibi witnesses testified they were watching movies with Russ from 6 pm to 9 pm, the night of the murder. All four of them came to our studio for a group interview after the trial. Corbin answered concerns that they sounded rehearsed, saying 'I don`t know what to say except for when you tell the truth, you don`t have remember a whole lot.'

They described it was a boring night, burned in their minds after police knocked on their doors.

Now jurors Masterson and Bray are experiencing similar twists with what they've learned after their verdict.

Bray says she`ll never forget how she felt hearing the Judge read 'Guilty.' She said, 'I felt sick. Then it made me feel, did we do the right thing here?'

At that moment, she felt the answer was yes, they made the right decision. Now she hopes someone will continue investigating.

Bray said, 'I hope he can get an appeal.' Masterson added, 'I hope that justice happens.'

Betsy Faria's family expresses renewed pain every time they see another story questioning justice in this case. Betsy's sister Mary Rodgers told me she is 100% certain the right person is in prison and she wants they jury to know she feels they made the right decision.

21 comments

  • Mike Corbin

    First the prosecution makes things up in trial that there was never and will never be any evidence of and then I watch this report and see that the jury is now doing the same thing in order to help justify their horrible verdict?!?

    I hope that their justification by making up the lie that Russell ‘left his phone in a mailbox in Lake St. Louis’ makes them feel better. Of course anyone that knows anything about this trial knows that is complete hogwash–nobody ever made these claims in court at all. ‘Disappointment’ doesn’t even begin to describe how I think of this whole stinking mess.

    I have to believe that Russ will get a new trial in appeal–maybe then he will actually get the FAIR trial that he is due. Prior to this trial, never would I have guessed that TRUTH is such a rare thing in a Lincoln County courtroom. In all honesty, I’m still trying to figure out what evidence was used to arrest him–nothing that I saw/heard/read about from the trial supported an arrest, much less a murder charge and conviction.

    Thanks again Chris Hayes for keeping on this story.

    • joAnn Rowe

      Mike, beautifully spoken. Thanks to Chris Hayes for his pursuit of justice for Russ.the jury should have been told they cannot consider any theory that evidence does not support.

  • skeeter12

    This is a prime example of the judge and the prosecuting attorney being best friend and living and growing up together in the same community. When you a close community and judge knows the prosecutor and are friends it is to easy to side with your friend instead of deciding what is right and still claim you did it for justice instead of helping out your friend to win her case.

    This trial was and is a disgrace for how it was handled by the lincoln county judge and prosecutor even though the state prosecutor was helping the county prosecutor on this case doesn’t mean it was handled right by the judge and her friend.

  • Lynn

    Indiana is known as the Hoosier state, Lincoln County is known for its STUPIDITY..I guess all the jurors are from LC.

    Really you ” fill in the blanks” & came back with a guilty verdict… what ever happen to “beyond a reasonable doubt”. There was NO evidence against Russ, and to think that the alibis sounded rehearsed, if their stories didn’t match the same then you would say they were lying.

    LC has no integrity starting with the judge, the PA,the detectives & the cops, no “PIGS” now I know why they are called PIGS…all the way down to the jurors. You all put a innocent man in maximum prison.How do you sleep at night?, but then again maybe your not.

    I hope the jurors read this, because I blame them 100% for their actions.
    Yeah, you (jurors) didn’t hear all the evidence, but you heard enough to know that he did not commit this crime, but after listening to you on Fox 2 last night, I knew you were from LC because you lied to Chris Hayes.
    A cell phone in the mail box..REALLY!!!!! I guess that was one of your “fill in the blanks”, ans as far as “Time of Death”, the paramedics said that rigormortis had already set in when they arrived.

    Who convicts a man on their own assumptions. If you were told to “fill n the blanks” should have been a red flag. What judge or Pa. tells ajury to do that. Oh yeah LC does.

    The jurors as far as i”m concerned and probably alot of other people think you failed to do your duty.

    Shame on you the Jury. I hope your conscience gets the best of you. If you have been following this story, which I’m sure you have since you convicted a innocent man, you see how many people believe in Russ & can’t believe how incompitent you were as jurors.

  • McGirr

    @Lynn

    Your being just more than little unfair. These jurors have spoken out against the fact the prosecution mislead them and suppressed exculpatory evidence. Are these not one of the jurors that held out giving a guilty plea, and i would not be surprised Lynn if their was an aggressive personality like yours pushing for a guilty decision. It is symbolic moment and these people should be shown respect and gratitude for what they are doing. This is an ongoing situation and these people have helped show an injustice. If you were locked in a max prison you would be so thankfull that something positive is happening that might see you exonerated rather than being petty and proportioning blame. It was the prosecutions theory that Russ left his phone at his friends house. Without all of the evidence and even the time of death, and the circumstantial evidence of the slippers they had to form an opinion. It is daunting and concerning that jurors can be mislead and left to ‘fill in the blanks’. The judge has alot more to answer to than two Jurors. The prosecution have immunity from criminal and civil claims made against them. Maybe that should change.

    • lynn

      @McGirr
      I’m being UNFAIR!!!!…are you kidding… those jurors put a innocent man in prison, that is what is UNFAIR. So a couple jurors held out till the end, they must be weak to have someone else change their mind, they should have stood their ground, those jurors would NEVER get respect for their verdict, do you even read the papers to see what other people are saying,and as far as me having a aggressive personality, no I’m just plain PISSED off at this verdict, You and the jurors would be PISSED off if it were one of your loved ones. Yeah, their speaking out about the inustice,just alittle to late since they are the ones that put him there. Russ has been sitting in prison for 2 1/2 years, you call that fair. The jurors job is not to form an opinion, to fill in the blanks, and/or read between the lines. The verdict is suppose to base on facts and evidence. The only thing I agree with is the judge has alot she needs to answer for, & the PA should not have immunity from their lies, that just gives them a lincense to say anything they want and get away with it.

      • Pam Gagliano Drake

        @ Lynn

        Missouri is the “Show Me State” so prosecuting attorneys leah askey and richard hicks “Show Us” your proof of Russell’s guilt. All of you jurors who were on this case “Show Us” the hard evidence/the facts you based your guilty verdict on, of Russell’s guilt, to cause you to come up with a guilty verdict and to have Russ Faria sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years and no parole. Jurors “Show Us” your proof – Not Your Fill in the Blanks as you stated you did when you were interviewed by Reporter Chris Hayes on his news segment.

        To Fill in the Blanks and/or Read Between the Lines on any trial, mostly on a murder trial, is ABSURD and TOTALLY RIDICULOUS and a TRAVESTY to our justice system. You held this man’s life in your hands and had him convicted of murder and sentenced to life with no way out of prison when you didn’t have TRUE EVIDENCE of him being guilty and yet you came back into the courtroom with a guilty verdict. Wow, how could you? It’s really scary this happens in the United States of America the Home of the Free and the Brave.

        Jurors your job was to come up with a verdict of innocent or guilty based on FACTS – TRUE FACTS – NOT based on Fill in the Blanks or Read Between the Lines with your OPINIONS. How do you live with yourselves Sending an Innocent Man to Prison FOR LIFE WITHOUT having any Evidence against him? How do you face anyone? How are your families doing; they have to face people who know you Wrongfully had an INNOCENT MAN put in Prison FOR Life? judge chris kunza mennemeyer “Show Us” your proof of Russell’s guilt.

        Oh, but, wait a minute, None of you-No Not One of you have any proof whatsoever do you? I was in the courtroom everyday of the trial and there wasn’t any shred of evidence pointing to Russel as the guilt person. However, there was plenty of evidence Defense Attorney Joel Schwartz had proving Russell’s innocence. Attorney Joel Schwartz could “Show Us” Russell’s Innocence. However, prosecuting attorneys askey and hicks couldn’t “Show Us” any evidence “Showing” Russell was guilty-they had NOTHING-NOTHING AT ALL pointing to Russell as his wife’s murderer. “Show Us” you Evidence!

        You the jury didn’t hear everything that was brought out in the courtroom, but with what you did hear, I would bet you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, RUSS FARIA WAS INNOCENT and yet you came back with a guilty verdict condemning him, and INNOCENT MAN, to life plus 30 years in a maximum security prison without the chance of parole.

  • Mike Corbin

    I just wish that the lies would have ended with the ending of the trial.

    Now, with the Chris Hayes interview of the jurors, I can see that they are only continuing the example that PA Askey showed them when she prosecuted this case entirely on lies. The two jurors that have come forward are now making up new falsehoods that were never even brought up in trial. I wonder if they even realize that their process of ‘filling in the blanks’ was actually a way for them to systematically justify enslaving an innocent man into the prison system? Those ‘blanks’ have another name–Reasonable Doubt. In essence, they convinced each other to destroy this man’s life by lying to one another and deciding to then believe in those lies. I’ve heard from others that have had contact with one or more of them that these people are continuing the ‘campaign of lies’ by making up even more things about the alibi witnesses and Russ (that weren’t even brought up in trial) and talking to others about these lies as if they are truth. They had best be very careful about these actions…

    Enough with the lies! Are the alibi witnesses the only people that were on the stand and told the truth during that trial? The more I look at this the more that I feel this was a ‘setup’ from the beginning. The prosecution nor the jury appears to have had any interest in finding Russell anything but guilty from the start of this whole travesty. Really, they deliberated hard…for 4 hours?!? They were looking for any reason to find him guilty and when the prosecution failed to prove it, they just decided that they would make up some more stuff and ‘fill in the blanks’.

    Shame on them.

    My beliefs tell me that I am to forgive ALL of the people involved in this mess that did this to Russ. I am trying hard, but it will take more time for me. I will forgive the jurors in time, but I will always hate the sins that they’ve committed(and continue to commit) in order to get them to where they are now and to where they’ve put Russell. Even those that have none of the beliefs that I’ve stated have to admit that the ‘karmic debt’ that they’ve incurred is enormous.

    Proverbs 19:9
    A false witness shall not be unpunished , and he that speaketh lies shall perish .

    The punishment from their lies won’t come from me or any other man…that’s an investment that will only mature over time. Redemption and atonement are always options available to them to attempt to overcome what they’ve done. Show the world that you want to attempt to ‘make right’ these problems that you’ve exacerbated and maybe you can put your lives back ‘on track’.

    This doesn’t even begin to speak to the real murderer(s). That person(s) is a piece of human filth that I will find it far harder to forgive.

  • Pam Gagliano Drake

    @ Mike Corbin

    Very well put, Mike, I agree with you beyond 100% on what you have written. The Bible also states, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap…” (The word man in this statement also stands for woman.) Galatians 6:7-9. We all will reap what we have sown. Good or bad we WILL reap it. These are not my words they are the Words of the Lord!

  • McGirr

    @Lynn

    No I am not a Juror, and I understand your frustration and at least we agree it should be rationed to the prosecution and the Judge also and a certain witness also. I would rather praise Jurors for coming forward rather than criticise them. At least it is pro active. Shame on the juror that never comes forward. When Russ is free that person shall remain behind.

  • lynn

    @McGirr,Yeah they did come forward,but they lied about of few things, just like the PA lied through the whole trial, Russ is INNOCENT and those jurors put him in prison, because they believe the lies from the PA, come on any intelligent person could see that he is INNOCENT,and if you can’t see it then that tells me that your not to bright. I still say they are weak minded,and I still hope they have NIGHTMARES about what they did, all of them are corrupt, hell maybe the jury was paid off, just maybe they won’t have to pay their next speeding ticket. They had their minds made up when they deliberated, those 2 jurors did not speak out for justice, their just trying to ease their conscience, because down deep they know they SCREWED up.

    • Pam Gagliano Drake

      @ Lynn

      Yes, I believe everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt Russell was/is INNOCENT. I strongly believe the jury heard enough information before they went to deliberations to know Russ was/is INNOCENT…I was in the courtroom everyday of the trial. Every time Attorney Joel Schwartz or Attorney Nate spoke with someone on the stand the prosecutors, most of the time, wanted to go to the judges bench to have it dismissed and the judge complied with them. That was a major red flag because it happened far too many times.

      We all have to answer to God, rather we believe in Him or not, on judgement day for everything we have done and for every word we have spoken.

      The Bible says, “whatsoever we sow we will reap”. Whatsoever we have done either good or bad we will reap a harvest from it. These are not my words but the Words of the Lord. We all will reap a harvest on the words we speak and on the deeds we do.

      We all need to be watchful on what we do to other people. We need to be cautious for what we make happen to other people. The Lord hears and sees everything we say and everything we do…good or bad He sees and hears it all. God knows our hearts.

    • McGirr

      @Lynn

      Yes; I know there is overwhelming evidence he is innocent but I am bright enough to realise that the Jury were not given all the fact’s. That your insinuation that they are lying is based on what, you were not in the jury room. What were these jurors lying about?

      I am bright enough to realise that these Jurors coming forward like this helps Russ Faria alot more than calling them liars and them not coming forward.

      I just wonder if your the prosecution in that case trying to deter other Jurors from coming forward.

      I do not agree with the verdict and at the preliminary trial the assistant Da said the time of death was a complete unknown. That is not true.

      Focus your anger on the lies the prosecution told, and all the unconstitutional and biased judgements by the Judge.

      The Jurors have said they would not have given a guilty decision had they been aware of the suppressed evidence. So i am bright enough to know that this evidence must make a big difference, and i am bright enough to know the jurors are as angry as you are that they did not get to hear it.

      • lynn

        @McGirr..you see I was in the courtroom everyday, so I know what they heard and didn’t hear. There was PLENTY of evidence proving his innocence, i guess 4 credible alibis don’t mean a thing anymore, why would 4 people lie for Russ, these people have families, do you really think they would lie for someone and take a chance to lose their family… I THINK not!!!!! There was no blood on Russ anywhere not one drop, you can’t stab somebody that many times and not get any blood on you
        as for as them lying there was NO mention about the cell phone being left in a mailbox, or any mention of someone saying 4:08, which Ken Masterson was saying…Their stories match because they were telling the truth…Ken said “their stories were a little too good, a little too rehearsed”. If their stories didn’t match then they would say they were lying, so which is it…and Debbie Bray said she felt sick after she heard the verdict…REALLY… how does she think he felt and his family, this is his life…and your commit about me being the prosecution in that case, he wouldn’t be in prison!!! My anger is aimed at everybody that put him in prison, and that includes the jury.

  • Jo

    If you are so bright, can you explain to me how they convicted him without true FACTS! It is NOT legal for a jury to “fill in the blanks” to come up with the verdict”. Have you ever heard of JURY MISCONDUCT?! If you do not have enough FACTS to come up with a guilty verdict then you cannot say he is guilty! That my friend is REASONABLE DOUBT!!! They could have just as easily filled in the blanks to make him innocent, so why didn’t they? Because in their mind they already had him guilty!! Shame on that Jury! I hope they can’t sleep at night!

    • Pam

      @ Jo

      Why didn’t they come back with an innocent verdict? As you stated they could have just as easily have filled in the blanks and returned to the courtroom with an innocent verdict and not a guilty one.

      How do they sleep at night when they willing put an innocent man in prison with their theories, their opinions, and their fill in the blanks? Really? This is just plain unbelievable.

      The jurors had to have known, I do and I never served on a jury, you have to base your verdict on FACTS – NOT FILL IN THE BLANKS, NOT WITH YOUR OWN OPINIONS, and NOT WITH YOUR OWN THEORIES. What a travesty this is to Russ and to our justice system.

      How could Debbie Bray say she’ll never forget how she felt hearing the judge read ‘Guilty’ and say she felt sick then wondered if they did the right thing? How could she say that when SHE VOTED GUILTY? Come on – how does she think Russ felt hearing that dreadful sentence.

      Why didn’t they base their verdict on the Facts and not on their own theories, on their own opinions, and on their own fill in the blanks?

      The jurors came up with their own theory and thought maybe Russ left his phone in a mailbox in Lake St. Louis, so his phone would ping away from the murder. Really? Wow! Who knows what all they said in the deliberation room with their own theories, opinions, and fill in the blanks?

      • Pam

        Really how does she think Russ felt hearing that DREADFUL VERDICT and that DREADFUL SENTENCING he received knowing he was and is far beyond 100% INNOCENT. He NEVER WOULD HAVE KILLED HIS WIFE.

        Plus the jury didn’t have any FACTS to BASE THEIR VERDICT ON SAYING RUSS FARIA WAS GUILTY!!! They had plenty to see he was INNOCENT from everything Attorneys Joel Schwartz and Nate presented and how prosecutors askey and hicks wanted to go to the judges bench just about every time Attorney Schwartz and Nate spoke with the witnesses. That should have been a major red flag and no one would have to fill in the blanks on that because it was visual.

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