St. LOUIS – Russ Faria spent more than three years in prison for a murder that Lincoln County prosecutors now say was committed by Pam Hupp.
Faria’s former defense attorney Joel Schwartz said, “It’s frightening what goes on with law enforcement and prosecutors given the power that is placed upon them with somebody’s life, specifically in this case Russ Faria. What is reassuring is that in the end their lies and dishonesty will be uncovered and potentially lead to criminal charges.”
Hupp was charged Monday with Betsy Faria’s 2011 stabbing death.
“Fortunately Russ is out. He’s a free man and is exonerated and we’re finally starting to see at least a semblance of closure in charging the person who I’ve know was responsible for this for the last decade,” Schwartz said.
Previous Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey and previous Lincoln County Sheriff’s investigators never backed off Russ Faria as their suspect through two trials.
As Fox 2 has reported for years, Schwartz says he was denied evidence.
“I know there was discovery I wasn’t given prior to the first trial and some stuff arrived just prior to the second trial four years after the fact,” Schwartz said.
“I’ve also found out there was discovery that was not ever turned over to me and people were asked to commit perjury and in fact may have committed perjury.”
Current Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood and new Sheriff Rick Harrell also announced Monday they will hold those responsible accountable.
“Information came to my attention from three separate and independent sources that witnesses were asked to lie on the stand by the prosecutor in that case,” Wood said Monday.
Schwartz said he’s also provided information to new Lincoln County investigators. He believes they’re taking it seriously.
“There’s certainly teeth behind the investigation,” Schwartz said.
Some of Schwartz’s evidence includes pictures of the Faria kitchen that showed no evidence of blood clean-up – pictures the prosecution said did not exist.
Schwartz, however, found them after he says former LCSO Capt. Mike Merkel testified the police camera had broken and no pictures turned out.
“I did manage to get copies of the photos two years after he testified to them and nothing that he said was accurate,” Schwartz said.
Reporter Chris Hayes asked, “And he would have known that?”
“He certainly should have known it. He was the one who took the photographs,” Schwartz said.
Wood said he and the sheriff might have their corruption report done by November.