LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – As the fallout from Pam Hupp continues, FOX 2 gets the first look at a former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigator who is involved in an ongoing corruption investigation.

FOX 2 had the only reporter in court as we confronted the woman charged with reportedly trying to blackmail an internal affairs officer.

Becky Merkel is charged with stalking and harassing current Lincoln County Undersheriff Randy Lambert. Lambert was looking into past police corruption that led to Russ Faria’s wrongful conviction. Law enforcement at that time used Pam Hupp as a star witness. Faria spent three and a half years in prison before he was exonerated for the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria—a murder with which Hupp is now charged.

Russ was at Tuesday’s court hearing, along with his cousin Mary Anderson and his fiancée, Carol McAfee, whom he met after Hupp conspired and failed to kill her.

“It’s the first step in the right direction that (prosecutor) Mike Wood promised everybody when he was running for office,” Russ said. “He’s following through with his promises, and he’s investigating the officers that are guilty of wrongdoing. I’m glad to see they’re finally being made to answer for what they did.”

Merkel was a crime scene and evidence technician during the time of Russ’s wrongful conviction. She’s charged, along with two of her family members, in an alleged blackmail plot to derail Lambert’s corruption investigation. Court records said they texted Lambert, saying they were following him while he was dining at a St. Charles restaurant and saying they had dirt on him.

Merkel’s husband, Mike, is also charged in the current stalking and harassment case. He’s the former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Captain who testified at both of Russ’s trials. Mike said under oath that crime scene photos never developed. However, during the 2015 re-trial, Russ’s defense attorney revealed photos on the stand, showing they not only developed but also showed no evidence of a blood trail, as Merkel and other investigators claimed.

Mike’s brother Kevin, meanwhile, was not involved in the Russ/Hupp investigations. He currently works for the DEA and allegedly used his government phone and a secret burner app to deliver threatening text messages to Lambert in the alleged blackmail plot.

All three Merkels, it was decided in court Tuesday, will appear together on the same day in April to enter their pleas.

“I was originally planning on being out of town that week,” Russ said. “But I’m going to move some things around and make sure that I’m here.”

“It’s a big deal for me because it’s a big deal for him, you know,” said McAfee. “These people all had a hand in destroying his life for three and a half years.”