ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– We began this investigation more than two months ago after a jury convicted husband Russ Faria. Jurors believe he murdered his wife Betsy.
We’ve examined evidence as we’ve looked into nagging questions, you’ll see unfold for the first time.
He screamed on the 911 call, “Ahhhhh. God no!”
It was two days after Christmas, 2011.
He screamed to the 911 operator, “She`s got a knife in her neck!”
He said he thought his wife Betsy killed herself as he exclaimed, “Why would she do this to me?”
A medical examiner said she was stabbed 55 times with her arms nearly severed. Most of the stabbings occurred after she was dead.
Betsy`s Mom Janet Meyer called it, “A crime of passion, when you stab somebody over 50 times, it`s usually a crime of passion, a husband or wife. I felt right away it was Russ.”
He was the immediate suspect. On a police interview tape a Detective told Russ, “She was stabbed over 25 times.” Russ yelled, “Oh my god, no!” Another detective responded, “They`re still counting.”
The Major Case Squad questioned him for days.
On the interrogation tape, one officer told Russ, “God is in this room right now.” Faria answered, “God knows I did not do this.”
He did not back down. He continued, “I did not do this. I did not do it.”
In our joint investigation with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Robert Patrick and I interviewed Russ Faria in prison, less than three months after a jury convicted him.
I asked Russ, “Did you kill Betsy?”
Russ answered, “No, no I didn`t. No. I loved her and would not, could not do that to anybody let alone somebody that I love.”
Evidence techs did not find a drop of blood on him. Police did find bloody slippers in a closet and a light switch that appeared to be flipped on with something bloody.
I asked Faria in prison, “How do you explain bloody slippers?” Faria answered, “Well, uhm judging by the way they looked, appeared to me like they were dipped.”
Only those slippers. No bloody footprints.
Faria continued, “I hadn`t even been wearing my slippers and then I`m told that they were in my closet, but I never put them in my closet.”
Defense attorney Joel Schwartz added that police found no evidence of clean up. He said, “They took the pipes to look for blood. There was no evidence of blood in the shower or in the drain pipes.”
In trial, the state focused on Faria`s demeanor. Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey told jurors, “He never needed a Kleenex.”
We also asked Faria why he appeared emotionless during our prison interview. Faria said, “Well, I`ve put a lot of things behind me. I`ve made peace with a lot of things. I`ve shed a lot of tears, when she was diagnosed both times with cancer. I loved her. I love her still. I didn`t kill her.”
Four alibi witnesses said Russ was with them from 6-9 pm in O`Fallon, MO.
The drive from their house to Troy, puts Faria home within minutes of him making the 911 call. It`s a call Betsy`s family believes is telling.
Betsy`s sister Mary Rodgers said, “Your wife is laying there dead. You`d be bawling. You`d be hard to communicate with. He would stop. She`d ask him a question. He`d answer it then start right back up with the wailing.”
How could he think it was suicide? From prison Faria answered, “She had threatened it previously. She had actually tried it previously, left notes and that. My mind wasn`t working right. I saw slashes on her arms and I jumped to conclusions.”
He said he knew police would focus on him. He`s the husband. But even sitting in prison, after a jury convicted him and a judge sentenced him to life, he says he would not change how he handled it.
His attorney Joel Schwartz said, “He wouldn`t take time served on a misdemeanor.” I exclaimed, “Really?” Schwartz answered, “Yeah. He didn`t kill his wife.”
Schwartz said he told prosecutors they had a case, but not against Russ. He explained, “My point was, appoint me as special prosecutor and I`ll prosecute the right person and I`ll guarantee you a conviction.”
Next: Secret Evidence