LINCOLN COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – Two jurors are asking for justice after convicting Russ Faria of murdering his wife. They believe they should`ve heard evidence the Judge suppressed. The jurors sat down with Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes to discuss their verdict.
Ken Masterson said, ‘Everybody there wanted to make the right decision. There was no one there that was like `oh the hell with you guys, he`s guilty.` Everybody there was willing to listen to everybody else.’
Masterson and Debbie Bray agreed they should`ve been able to hear everything. Bray said, ‘You`ve got someone`s life in your hands and you want to make sure you`re making the right decision.’
Husband Russ Faria called reporting a suicide. A medical examiner said his wife was stabbed 55 times with her arms nearly severed. Evidence techs did not find a drop of blood on the husband. Police did find bloody slippers tossed in a closet and a light switch that appeared to be swiped with something bloody.
Bray said, ‘Then when we find out later things that we didn`t get to hear it`s upsetting. I was very upset about it.’
Both jurors later learned that a Judge suppressed evidence of murder victim Betsy Faria`s life insurance and how the woman who drove Betsy home the night of the murder, benefitted from a $150,000 policy, that was just signed over into her name.
Masterson explained, ‘My whole life I`ve heard `the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…` well that`s leaving out some of the truth.’ He added, ‘This isn`t you know, did somebody pay a $30 fine or 6 days in jail. This is life in prison. You need to know everything.’
Jurors began deliberations with a split vote 6-6. Then it was 10-2 guilty, with Debbie Bray holding out.
Bray said, ‘I didn`t think there was enough evidence to convict how we were supposed to, but we did a lot of filling in the blanks. As the blanks were being filled in, my mind was starting to change.’
One of those blanks? She said prosecutors avoided talking about `when` they thought Betsy Faria died.
Bray said that ‘was strange. They couldn`t give us an exact time of death. They couldn`t even give us a roundabout.’
During a pre-trial hearing, Faria`s defense asked the prosecution to pin down the time of death. An Assistant Attorney General, who helped prosecute, said they could not. He admitted that would, quote “literally be making it up” and he told the Judge ‘…this is something for the jury to decide.”
So jurors came up with their own theory. They thought maybe Russ left his phone in a mailbox in Lake St. Louis, so his phone would ping away from the murder.
Bray added, ‘He could`ve left it there, went back, because there was plenty of time.’
Masterson added that the alibi witnesses did not help Russ. He said, ‘Their stories were a little bit too good, a little too rehearsed.’
The alibi witnesses testified they were watching movies with Russ from 6 pm to 9 pm, the night of the murder. All four of them came to our studio for a group interview after the trial. Corbin answered concerns that they sounded rehearsed, saying ‘I don`t know what to say except for when you tell the truth, you don`t have remember a whole lot.’
They described it was a boring night, burned in their minds after police knocked on their doors.
Now jurors Masterson and Bray are experiencing similar twists with what they’ve learned after their verdict.
Bray says she`ll never forget how she felt hearing the Judge read ‘Guilty.’ She said, ‘I felt sick. Then it made me feel, did we do the right thing here?’
At that moment, she felt the answer was yes, they made the right decision. Now she hopes someone will continue investigating.
Bray said, ‘I hope he can get an appeal.’ Masterson added, ‘I hope that justice happens.’
Betsy Faria’s family expresses renewed pain every time they see another story questioning justice in this case. Betsy’s sister Mary Rodgers told me she is 100% certain the right person is in prison and she wants they jury to know she feels they made the right decision.