LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – A Lincoln County police corruption investigation leads to Russ Faria‘s first look in years at an investigator who once targeted him.

It’s a case made infamous because of Pam Hupp, who is charged with the murder at the center of the controversy.

It was quite a moment to see a former murder suspect face-to-face with his former police interrogator, Mike Merkel. This time, they were on the opposite sides of where they sat a decade ago.

“It was nice to kind of sit on the opposite side and watch him sweat,” Faria said.

Merkel, a former police captain, rushed out of court to a waiting car after the hearing. He did not respond to questions from FOX 2.

“Doing that showed me that he’s not proud of himself anymore, and he might be a little bit scared now,” Faria said.

You may remember Merkel from a 2011 police interview video. He was one of the first to interrogate Russ Faria after Faria found his wife, Betsy, stabbed to death in their home.

Merkel is no longer with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. It was under a previous administration when the former captain focused strongly on Faria, despite a lack of any direct evidence that he committed a crime.

Then Merkel, along with other former investigators and the former Lincoln County prosecutor, used Hupp as a star witness. That happened despite evidence that now has Hupp charged with Betsy’s murder, under current prosecutor Mike Wood.

“I think with the new sheriff in town and the new prosecutors like Dulany (Harms) and Mike Wood, I think one day Troy, Missouri can be a safe town again,” Carol McAfee said after court.

McAfee survived a 2016 plot by Hupp to kill her. After McAfee escaped, Hupp found Louis Gumpenberger and killed him.

“My heart breaks for that man, you know?” McAfee said. “I feel like he died because I lived.”

Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood has sworn to hold previous investigators accountable. His investigation led to Merkel’s current charge, which bizarrely arose from Merkel’s alleged stalking of a corruption investigator in an effort to get that officer to back off.

In Thursday’s hearing, Merkel’s attorney hoped to get the judge to drop the case.

“One was a motion to dismiss for improper venue and the other was a motion to dismiss that the probable cause statement wasn’t sufficient,” special prosecutor Dulany Harms said. “The bottom line is the court denied both of those.”

The case returns to the Lincoln County Courthouse next month.