Free Russ Faria
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 appeared to be like any other Tuesday night for Russell Faria. As he'd been doing for several years, he showed up at a friends house at 6:00pm and instead of playing games like they usually did, him and his friends watched a couple of movies. This wasn't all that unusual since one of their number was missing that night, having to work due to a hectic holiday schedule. By all accounts, it was a boring night--the movies were hit and miss and nothing of any note happened. As was usual, Russell left the house at 9:00pm.
On his way to the highway to begin his 30 mile trek home, Russ decided to stop by a local drive-thru to pick up a late dinner. His reciept from that drive-thru places him there at almost exactly 9:10pm. Arriving at home at 9:40-9:45pm he was confronted with the horrific scene of his wife Betsy's lifeless and mangled body lying on the living room floor. Knowing that she'd talked of suicide in the past due to her terminal cancer condition and seeing the deep slashes in her wrists, Russ's shock at what he was seeing made him think that she must have done the unthinkable and killed herself. While the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, was embedded in his wifes neck, the shock of such a tragic loss kept him from even noticing this extremely odd thing that should have tipped him off to the fact that this was definitely foul play. Immediately he called 911 and talked to the dispatcher for quite some time making it painfully obvious that he was nearly inconsolable with grief.
Before Police even arrived, the paramedic first responder arrived on the scene. From his own account he described Betsy Faria's body as "cold and stiff" when he arrived--pointing to Betsy's murder having to have occurred at some point at least 2 hours previous. That day Betsy was having therapy for her cancer that left her weak and a friend of hers had offered to bring her home. At the completion of Betsy's treatment, suddenly another friend of Betsy's, Pam Hupp, showed up unannounced and insisted that she bring Betsy home from the treatment. Agitated, though not wanting to start a scene, the first friend relented and let Pam Hupp take Betsy home. By Pam Hupp's own account, she was the last person to see Betsy alive, though her story changes a couple of times. Originally, she told the police that she had dropped Betsy off at 7 and then left to go home without entering the house. However, as she was questioned further by authorities, her story changed to having gone into the house and helped Betsy out with some things, thus delaying her departure by a few minutes. According to what she told authorities, she then called Betsy at about 7:30pm to let her know that she had made it home but that the call went unanswered. However, at trial, Russ's defense was able to show that the phone call that was made by Ms. Hupp to let Betsy know she was home actually pinged off of the cell tower just behind the Faria home and 30 miles away from the Hupp home. Further, it was discovered that Ms. Hupp had become the sole beneficiary of a $150,000 life insurance policy on Betsy Faria just days before the murder. At trial, Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer would not allow the jury to hear any evidence related to Pam Hupp--she sent them out of the courtroom.
From the beginning, the Lincoln County justice system considered Russ Faria the main suspect. He was arrested after being kept up all night during interrogation. His alibi witnesses, living in a different county, were interviewed on 2 different occasions, all separated from each other and were found by the St. Louis Major Case Squad to have no involvment in the crime. During closing at the trial however, Prosecuting Attorney Leah Askey created a complicated and completely unsubstantiated conspiracy theory claiming that this was all planned out by Russ and his friends over years of time. There is and never will be any evidence of this, as it is a complete falsehood. In fact, cell phone records would show that all the alibi witnesses and Russ Faria were doing exactly as they had said that night from 6:00-9:00pm--sitting in a house 30 miles away from the crime scene. PA Askey never informed the jury that the alibi witnesses had never been considered suspects nor would they ever be and the Judge let her get away with telling this completely fabricated story that could not be defended against since it was made up during the closing arguments of the trial. Lincoln County offficials now will not talk about any of this, since doing so would open them up to the inevitable lawsuits from those that PA Askey slandered.
Russell Faria has now been sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years with no possibility of parole in a ridiculous parody of a trial. He's now serving out that time in the maximum security Jefferson City Correctional Center and he should NOT be there.
To this day, Pam Hupp has still not turned over the $150,000 to Betsy's daughters, to whom Pam Hupp originally claimed Betsy wanted her to distribute.
How You Can Help
Join the Free Russ Faria Facebook page and link up with other supporters to help spread the word of this travesty of justice. Read and watch all that you can about the crime, case and trial and make sure to watch both the Dateline NBC episode "The House on Sumac Drive" and the exhaustive reporting done by Chris Hayes with Fox2 in St. Louis. Contact Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon and email Missouri Attorny General, Chris Koster to let them know what you think of this shameful conviction. Sign the change.org petition for Russ' release. You can even donate to Russ' legal fund on gofundme. Most of all Russell needs our voices to speak up for his which has been silenced by Lincoln County Missouri. Tell everyone that you know about this and help to hasten his release from a prison where he does not belong.