Russ Faria settles Lincoln County lawsuit for $2 million; Wants wife’s killer caught

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TROY, Mo. – Russ Faria settled his lawsuit against Lincoln County for $2,050,000. Now he wants the real killer caught.

Lincoln County admitted no fault in the payout by its insurance company.  The Sheriff’s Office and former prosecutor Leah Askey had been dismissed from the lawsuit by the judge.

Faria talked to Fox 2 today about his settlement.  He said, “I had to give up three and a half years of my life. I had to endure a lot of things.  Frankly, there’s no amount of money that can bring my wife back.”

Faria was convicted for the December 2011 murder of Betsy Faria.  His conviction was later overturned when a judge questioned whether Pam Hupp could’ve been the killer.

Faria said, “My lawyers, about 6 months after my exoneration (in 2015), decided we were going to file our lawsuit.  Then a couple of months after we filed our lawsuit Mr. Gumpenberger was shot.”

Pam Hupp shot and killed Louis Gumpenberger in August 2016, while Lincoln County continued fighting Faria’s lawsuit.  Friday, Lincoln County paid out without admitting wrongdoing.

Attorneys Hugh Eastwood, Bevis Schock, and Joel Schwartz all sued on Faria’s behalf.

Eastwood said, “In this case all defendants, three detectives, the county and prosecutor all deny liability, but at the end of the day they’re agreeing to pay over $2 million. I think the public can draw its own conclusions from that settlement and what it means for Russ Faria. Not only is he exonerated, but now he’s getting some measure of justice.”

Schock said, “We did not release Pamela Hupp who we believe did murder, Betsy Faria.  Should she find a way to monetize her fame, we will immediately sue her civilly.”

Schwartz has been by Faria’s side for more than eight years, as he also defended Faria in criminal court.  He said, “I don’t know how you can possibly repay somebody for three and a half years of their life. You can always make more or earn more money.  You can’t buy more time.”

Faria says he’ll keep working because he loves his job working with motorcycles.  He says he’s not in a hurry to spend his settlement.  He told us, “I’m going to talk to an investment adviser and find out what’s best for me. I haven’t really made any hard decisions yet as far as what I want to do you know – pay off some bills and things and just live my life.”

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office had no comment saying the lawsuit no longer involved them.  The office had been dismissed from the lawsuit, along with the former Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey.    Two of the three deputies, who remained named in the lawsuit, no longer work for the LCSO.  One is still employed by the office.

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