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

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A Lincoln County jury convicted Russ Faria of stabbing his wife 55 times and leaving a steak knife buried in her neck.  The reason?  Prosecutors say it was the ultimate role play, drawn up years earlier by a group of gamers.  Every one of those people has now come forward challenging prosecutors to set an innocent man free or come after them.

Mike Corbin said, "I`m not going to lie to you. From reading the stories in the newspaper and from seeing the stuff online, hearing stuff on the news, it was really pretty damning."

Since Russ Faria's arrest in 2011, four acquaintances of Russ thought they could`ve been sitting right next to a murderer.

Corbin added, "All you`re hearing is, we were hearing from investigators, open and shut case."

Michael Corbin, Angelia Hulion, Brandon Sweeney and Marshall Bach all told detectives they were with Russ Faria from 6-9 pm, the night Betsy was murdered.

Sweeney said, "For the longest time, I even said, I thought Russ did it before he came out and hung out with us."

Then they learned at trial that prosecutors narrowed Betsy`s time of death to a time between '7:20 and 9:41 pm.'

Even convict Russ Faria`s attorney says he did not know prosecutors would suddenly accuse cooperating witnesses.

Defense attorney Joel Schwartz said, "The state alleged that four innocent people conspired in murder. If these people aren`t innocent, then why aren`t they charged? The bigger question is, why won`t the State go on record and say that to you... because there`s nothing to support it, just like there`s nothing to support that Russell Faria had anything to do with this."

In closing arguments at trial, Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey called Betsy`s murder, `the ultimate role play.` Askey told jurors that Faria brought a murder plot to his friends. She said they set up the alibi using Brandon Sweeney to play a key role.   Askey suggested Sweeney kept Faria`s phone so that it would ping in O`Fallon, MO at 8:57 pm.  Then she said Sweeney drove through the Arby`s, getting a receipt stamped 9:09 so Russ could kill his wife 30 minutes away.

Sweeney told me, "That really sickens my stomach because I tried to help them the whole time, be honest and truthful, just try to find what happened that night to be honest with you."

Angelia Hulion said, "It made me sick, it really did. I just can`t believe it.  I didn`t think things like that happened."

Marshall Bach said, "Faith in the justice system and authority figures... there is no faith in them anymore. You see something like this happen.. I mean, I don`t know, you almost go around town wondering who`s going to screw me over."

Sweeney added, "...almost makes you second guess working with authorities."

Corbin said, "If we`re guilty of something, we should be arrested."  Then he said, "Askey probably in particular is not going to like what we`re doing here.  But we don`t want to be here. I don`t want to be having to talk to you as nice as a guy as you are Chris, but Leah Askey put us here by saying that our friend committed a crime that he could not possibly have committed.  I mean he was within eight feet of us that night. There is no way he committed this crime."

Police report finding no blood on Russ Faria.  A crime lab report shows DNA testing revealed Betsy's blood on the murder weapon.  The DNA lab report continues, "Russell Faria is excluded as the source of these profiles."

I made repeated attempts to get answers from prosecutor Askey, even writing the Attorney Generals' Office, which assisted in convicting Russ Faria.

Askey finally responded with this e-mail, "I cannot comment on anything regarding this case until all of defendant`s appeals have been exhausted.  I have stated this every way possible on numerous occasions.  I appreciate your zeal; however, this will serve as my answer to all such questions and future inquiries."

Russ Faria`s attorney has filed an appeal.

We also asked the Attorney General's office to comment. The Office declined and it will handle the appeal.

Keep the conversation going on Twitter #FariaMurder.

Join Chris on Twitter


  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Not sure if u ever checked into Pam Hupp’s missouri dept of insurance records. She worked for the wing haven State Farm office for several years. She might have even sold that policy to mrs faria. Would have definitely known the rules regarding death payments. Hmmmmm.

  • Mike Corbin

    I wonder what it is Pam Hupp meant when she says ‘it happened so fast’? Too bad the investigators did nothing more than sit there looking at her slack-jawed and ready to bake her a cake.

    I’m no criminal investigator, but I’ve seen enough Law & Order to realize that you ask about that kind of stuff. Sheesh, they were literally in Russ’s face and had him up interrogating him for God knows how many hours and they let that out of place statement from Pam Hupp go??

    Our system is broken. Seems to me the investigators and later the prosecution were only interested in making up a story, not solving the crime. That’s one helluva story they came up with though–so good that nobody will talk about it now.

  • Annie

    Insurance agents are not permitted to be named as beneficiary on an insurance poliy that they wrote, but I am sure as an agent she certainly knew how to sell Betsy on the idea of listing her as beneficiary. Pam is a salesman..she is an obvious liar…i think she got away with murder. It was mentioned from another media source that Betsy also had another policy that was changed, listing Pam as beneficiary, but Betsy had not yet returned it to the Insurance company..

    I would think that it is investigation 101 to suspect foul play to someone .lwho continuously changes their story during questioning…DUH! As a Troy resident I am disgusted at this gross negligence of justice. I hope his conviction is overturned and he sues the hell out of Lincoln County.

    • Mike Corbin

      Annie, if you are as mad as his family and friends are about this make sure you contact your city, county and state officials. This could occur to anyone in Lincoln County that happens to walk into this kind of tragedy.

  • Laurie

    I just watched the Dateline show about this case. How could a jury possibly convict this man? If four first person witnesses, video cameras, cell phone records and a receipt are not enough to establish an alibi, then what would the jury accept? Why would law enforcement work so hard to convict a man with no motive and an alibi, while ignoring a suspect who admitted to being the last person to see her alive, had no consistent alibi and had a motive for murder? Did they give her a lie detector test? Did the ME determine time of death? Did they get a warrant to search this woman’s car? Why would anyone believe her, when she is obviously such a liar?
    Maybe the investigators in this case are the ones that should be investigated.
    Something is wrong here.

  • Loretta

    I just watched dateline and in tne process checked some things out online. I am completely appauled at this whole thing im devastated for Russ even though I domt even know him but i believe he is innocent and want to see justice how could i help this is just an outrage not ever do you see a suspect with a completely credible I am broken hearted for Russ and want to help if anyone on this communication speaks to russ or his attorney please let him know he has alot of supporters

    • Mike Corbin

      If you are as mad as his family and friends are about this make sure you contact your city, county and state officials. This could occur to anyone in Lincoln County that happens to walk into this kind of tragedy.

  • dawn81970

    A very similar thing is happening to me. I am 100% innocent and the DOJ, witnesses and investigators have lied again and again. The grand jury and the judge are completely derelict in their duties. I hope the jury is able to see better than the jury in Faria’s case or I wil be spending the rest of my life in jail for something I did not do. It is a very scary place to be.

  • Terry Pilon

    This is all simply an egomaniacal contest played by the prosecution. It is only about winning. The suspect was given to them and their desire to win the case is outweighing their sworn duty to justice. Any lawyer can convict a guilty person…but it takes a damn good one to convict an innocent person. Although in this case, the ineptitude of the judge certainly provided the state a ridiculous advantage.

  • Cassidy

    I have personally been involved in the appeals process in Nevada for a while now. I first heard about this case a while back from a buddy of mine who was appalled upon notice of a GC. I remember having an analytical discussion with a respected attorney for the 9th circuit court of appeals and he made this informative conclusion (not quoting him exactly of course). He said based on the assumption that all information regarding the course of this trial has been made public (which is not possible) there are at least 3 flaws that an appellate judge would cite to overturn. Statistically under 2% of all appeals filed are successfully overturned. Although it is possible that Russ Faria may have murdered his wife, it is certainly not how Askey described. To entertain and allow factless prosecutorial testimony of this nature Involving the reputation of four other individuals shows how incompetent the presiding judge was. Still, since there is no real mention of conclusive facts from a medical examiners report, which usually carries heavy bearing on like cases, it leads me to only assume..

  • Maria

    I was absolutely mortified by the outcome of Russ Faria’s trail! This man did not receive a fair trail and was found Guilty without Leah proving her case BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT!! I understand the detectives, prosecutor and judge are obviously corrupt!!! But do these hicks understand Leah has to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt?? Her imagination is quite good, she should write books not prosecute individuals! She needs to be disbarred!!

  • Donna Mann

    The system is most obviously broken. This is blatant injustice. I will go so far as to say criminal. I think an investigation needs to take place to see what relationships Pam had or has with the judge and prosecuting attorney as well as the investigators. Why would the judge not allow the information and inconsistencies in Pams stories? Why would the judge allow the prosecuting attorney to spin such a fairy tale without a shred of evidence, in court? Sadly Russ is just one of thousands of innocent citizens whose lives have been destroyed by a corrupt judicial system and lazy, uneducated police officers. In my opinion those responsible for botched investigations, corupt officials and the like should be severely penalyzed with loss of livelihood and freedom. I want to believe that justice will be done and the conviction of Russ will be overturned and when it is the judge, prosecuting attorney and investigators should do some hard time themselves and pay a large monetary restitution to Russ. Until we as a nation get together and start some new laws protecting citizens and incorporating stiff penalties for everyone of those involved in a wrongful convicttion none of us is safe.

  • John

    This sure sounds like a job for Anonymous. More citizens need to be informed about what all is going on here. How can we have any sense of security in our justice system when those that are in control are not at all concerned about seeking the truth or ensuring true justice is allowed to occur.

  • Neila Jeffries

    I am not a nieve person but I really don’t understand how this prosecutor/judge can believe for one moment that this is justice. And how any juror with half a brain could listen to this case and find Russ guilty beyond a reasonable doubt didn’t listen to the facts, even though they didn’t get all the evidence about Pam they still had to believe 4 people were willing to lie about Russ’ s whereabouts and conspired in a murder. It was a fantasy that the prosecution never proved! I hope and pray that Russ gets an appeal as soon as possible.

  • John August

    As Russ’s friends have pointed out, the prosecutor has claimed Russ’s friends are conspirators to this murder, and yet the prosecutor has never charged Russ’s friends with this crime. And the prosecutor has made these charges in open, public court, and that has damaged the reputations, etc., of Russ’s friends. So why don’t Russ’s friends at least charge the prosecutor with slander? The prosecutor should either prove that they are indeed conspirators to murder, or prepare to be sued for slander for falsely & publicly claiming that they are.

  • Stacey

    The judicial system has failed Russ Faria! It is heartbreaking to know that he is an innocent man sitting in prison while the real murder is free.

  • pat

    The conviction of Russ Faria was appalling…He deserves the right to appeal. I hope that the judge and prosecuting atty will be held accountable for this outrageous injustice and disbarred. I am dumbfounded that the insurance company paid out on a policy that was changed just days before Betsey was murdered. How can Betsey’s family not have doubts about her friend. Thank you Fox2 for your efforts to find the truth.

  • JJ

    Ditto to all previous comments. Judge/pros atty should be disbarred. Gross injustice for Russ Faria. He couldn’t be in 2 places at once. Whole case stinks. Appalling. Hope everyone stays on this and he is released – soon. Thank you Channel 2

  • James Lewis

    I was also disgusted by the victim’s mother saying that even if presented with convincing evidence she would still believe Mr. Faria did it. Unconscionable. The 4 “co-conspirators” stories were too consistent? Wouldn’t the truth be consistent? It sounded rehearsed? You don’t need to rehearse the truth. It’s an abomination that this man was convicted. Between Mr. Faria’s case and Ryan Ferguson’s recent exoneration, I never want to be accused of a crime in Missouri. Proof? We don’t need no stinkin’ proof! Just awful.

  • anthony

    Wasn’t betsy told by medical staff that she had about a year or two to live? If this is about money, then why the hell would russ kill his wife rather than wait till she passed…..just sayin. Incompetence on behalf of the judicial system…. so scary, this could happen to any one of us! Hope russ gets his day in court!

  • Bradley Noel

    I am from Iowa,and will be sure to drive around MO.This could happen to anyone.What a railroad job.All involved in this sickening injustice,should resign.Incompetent,rouge cop’s,at it again.

  • aussie girl

    Hope the appeal is successsful. Cannot believe the jury found Russ guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Angry all the way from Australia.

  • Not so easy to Dupe

    It sounds like Pam could have easily borrowed Betsy’s ID put on a wig and gone and changed the policy all by herself, would of been nice to look at video footage from the Library, and at least show pictures of Pam to the librarian notary. I have no doubt Russ Faria was railroaded and is innocent

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