O’FALLON, Mo. — John Neske was the first on the scene, five years ago, when Pam Hupp shot Louis Gumpenberger to death in an O’Fallon, Missouri, home.
“Let me tell you the whole thing had strange all over it,” Neske told us today.
He’s now the police chief in O’Fallon, Missouri. Back in 2016, he was Captain over Patrol. He happened to be out near Hupp’s house when the call came in.
“It was such an unusual call for this area in the middle of the day, stranger on stranger type of crime. It was really bizarre,” said Neske.
He pulled up to see Hupp in her driveway with her dog. She was not making a sandwich as the mini-series showed.
“Absolutely not, I had to chuckle over that one,” he said. “No, she did not. She was outside. She was excited.”
He did find Hupp’s victim, Louis Gumpenberger, dead on a carpet swatch. Though it wasn’t in the front room. It was in the hall by the bedroom door.
Neske said Hupp also consistently gave a preposterous account of how she fought off an intruder with a knife. One example was recorded in a police interrogation room after Hupp shot Gumpenberger on August 16, 2016.
“I hit his arm with the knife and then shot out of the car and ran inside,” she told officers years ago.
Today, Neske said: “The fact she disarmed a full-grown man with one karate chop move – you know – in the 30 years I’d been a police officer at that time, I’d never seen it happen before, so that’s just another one that just kind of hits you a little bit.”
Neske said the police officer portrayed on the TV show was a combination of at least five officers, but he said the tone and seriousness of their response was accurately depicted.
“I thought the O’Fallon Police Department was very well represented,” Neske said.
Their police work was thorough – investigating multiple angles that led to Hupp’s arrest for murder – one week after she claimed self-defense shooting.
FOX was the only TV station to capture Hupp’s arrest on August 23, 2016. That was the last day she saw the outside of a jail or prison cell. The St. Charles County Prosecutor presented an airtight case showing Hupp’s detailed premeditation – leading to her murder conviction in 2019.
Though Pam Hupp is now serving life in prison for murder, her former house on Little Brave Drive is still in her ex-husband’s name. We checked property assessor records to find Mark Hupp still registered as the owner.
Hupp currently faces another murder charge, filed in 2021, for the 2011 stabbing death of Betsy Faria. A conviction, in that case, could bring her the death penalty.