‘This has been a long time coming’ – Russ Faria on Pam Hupp’s first court appearance

FOX Files

Pam Hupp

LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – Pam Hupp’s attorneys had asked to waive Hupp’s appearance Tuesday so that she did not have to appear in person. The judge denied them, leading to Hupp’s long walk from the jail to court and back.

Cuffed and shackled, Hupp walked out of the Lincoln County Jail to the Justice Center at about 7:30 a.m.

She remained silent as we asked her if she had anything to say to Betsy Faria’s family. She stands charged with her friend’s 2011 stabbing death. She walked in to face Lincoln County prosecutors who had yet to look her in the eye.

“That was a very big moment for me personally and for the state,” Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood said, adding that it was good to see the beginning of justice.

Inside the courtroom, the judge read Hupp her right to remain silent – and she did – as she listened to the charges of murder and armed criminal action. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Hupp’s attorneys had already entered her plea of not guilty. Nothing much was expected in court, but victim’s families came out to watch anyway. The courtroom was filled with Betsy’s family and Russ’ family. Russ was wrongfully imprisoned for more than three years for Betsy’s murder, back in 2013.

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Pam Hupp made the same walk back to jail that Russ Faria did eight years ago after he was wrongfully convicted.

Russ was unable to make it to Tuesday’s hearing. However, he wrote in a statement to FOX 2, “I would just like to say that this has been a long time coming. I am eagerly awaiting this to go to trial and am doing what I can on my part to assist Mike Wood and his team.”

Russ’ mother, Luci, was with Russ eight years ago for his wrongful conviction. She was also in the courtroom today for Hupp’s appearance. She talked to us outside, surrounded by Russ’s sister, brother, and cousin.

“To me it’s really a happy day, seeing justice finally,” she said. “It took a long time and I commend Mike Wood for his work. And his investigators did a great job.”

Prosecutor Wood stood next to assistant prosecutor Dulany Harms, who Wood brought in just for Hupp’s case. Harms said he’s never seen a criminal case with this much evidence. Wood added that they will not offer Hupp the same plea deal Hupp brokered in St. Charles County. She was convicted in 2019 for Louis Gumpenberger’s murder after taking what’s called an “Alford plea,” – meaning she only admitted prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her. Wood said that won’t be good enough in Betsy Faria’s murder case.

“The state’s prepared to see this one through. I’m confident we’re not going to offer her the opportunity to offer an Alford plea,” Wood said. “If we get to the point in negotiations and discussions regarding pleas, I want it to be a regular plea. I don’t want it to be under the Alford decision.”

We’ll be back in court in about two months as Hupp’s attorneys asked for more time before they hold an evidentiary hearing.

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