LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – Lincoln County’s former prosecutor was dismissed Thursday from a civil suit over the unsolved murder of Besty Faria.
This case ties back Fox 2’s years of reporting on Pam Hupp and the Faria murder.
The 35-page order today that sometimes reads like a novel. The judge tears into the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigation but he says the prosecutor from that case is immune from being sued.
The judge criticized how investigators used Hupp as a star witness rather than investigating her for the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. He pointed out how nearly “every piece of evidence” could “equally support suspicion of Hupp.”
Instead, husband Russ Faria served more than three years in prison despite having an airtight alibi and cellphone records placing him far from his wife’s murder.
The judge wrote that Russ’ arrest was “not supported by the evidence.” He also said the lead investigator “prepared the (probable cause) statement in reckless disregard for the facts.”
Russ Faria’s lawyers had argued that then Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey—who now goes by Leah Chaney—was so involved in the investigation that she should also be sued. The judge agreed she worked closely with investigators but said she still is entitled to “prosecutorial immunity.”
However, the federal judge did not let the former investigators off the hook. Two former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigators and one detective sergeant who still works for Lincoln County, remain part of Faria’s civil lawsuit.