FOX Files: Former employee talks about Lincoln County’s treatment of Pam Hupp

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – The FOX Files has received inside information about the early treatment of Pam Hupp after a 2011 Lincoln County murder. It comes from a former victim’s advocate of the Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office, Cindy Denatale. She decided to come forward after Pam Hupp shot and killed Louis Gumpenberger in August.  Hupp claims she shot him in self-defense.  The St. Charles County Prosecutor charged it as a murder.

Rewind five years to Betsy Faria’s murder, north of Troy, MO.  The Lincoln County Prosecutor went after the husband, Russ Faria.  Meanwhile, Denatale says she and others in the office wondered aloud, what about Pam Hupp?

“Why are we not pursuing her?” Dentale remembered thinking. “There were several of us that kept thinking, why are we not pursuing Pam Hupp?”

Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey told investigator Chris Hayes, “No one brought me any probable cause on Pam Hupp. I cannot file charges when nothing is presented.”

Denatale says the evidence was already there, like Betsy Faria’s insurance policy, in which the proceeds went to Pam Hupp

“They were just locked down on Russ.  Why?  I don’t know, other than maybe egos or because they didn`t want to admit wrongdoing.  I don’t know,” said Denatale.

Russ Faria’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, added, “Frankly there was only one suspect from the beginning in my eyes.”

Schwartz said evidence didn’t matter to the Lincoln County Prosecutor.  He claims Leah Askey never changed course, even when cell phone tracking backed four alibi witnesses who placed his client miles away from the murder.

Schwartz said, “Leah, I think, felt she had painted herself into a publicity box and she would lose face by dismissing the charges against Russ so she proceeded forward.”

Prosecutor Askey said she could not comment on her case against Russ Faria.

She appeared to joke with Pam Hupp last year in a recorded pretrial interview.  It was in preparation for Russ Faria’s retrial.

On the video, Hupp asked, “So what are the chances of making the judge believe us?” Askey answered, “I feel comfortable the law is on our side.”

Russ Faria was acquitted in the second trial in which all the evidence came out.

Prior to the first trial, Denatale claims Askey ordered her to coordinate special treatment for Hupp.

She said, “I didn’t understand why she was getting special privileges, but it was my job. I mean there were a couple times where I had to get (Hupp) in the office because she wasn’t gonna come.  So they came up with get her in the side door.”

Denatale was fired before the second trial, but we could see what she meant.  FOX 2 captured video of Hupp being escorted in and out of a side courthouse door away from the public and metal detectors.

Askey denies it was her doing.  She said it was law enforcement.  She added that Denatale is not credible because she’s suing Lincoln County for age discrimination.  Askey won’t give a reason for the termination but she said it wasn’t about age.

Denatale’s lawyer said his client was given several reasons for the termination, but that Denatale disputes them all.

Denatale says that’s not why she’s talking.

She explained, “If I was disgruntled I would have come out about a year ago.  That’s not the case.  It’s due to the fact that had Lincoln County done due diligence then Louis (Gumpenberger) might be alive. He probably would be alive.”

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