TROY, MO (KPLR) – A judge has erased the life sentence for a man previously convicted of stabbing his wife to death and ordered a retrial after the court was presented with new evidence that could have changed the verdict had jurors known about it at the time of the original trial.
Russell Faria was convicted in November 2013 of the December 2011 murder of Betsy Faria, who was stabbed 55 times inside their Troy, Missouri home.
Friends of Russell testified he was with them in O’Fallon, Missouri at the same time Betsy stopped answering her phone, which is believed to be around the time she was killed.
The retrial, now scheduled for November 2, 2015, is the culmination of a joint investigation of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Fox 2 News. Said investigation brought up concerns of new evidence, as well as questions that the prosecutor was involved in a relationship with an officer who testified during the original trial. That officer testified there was no affair, but the judge focused on information about Betsy’s friend, Pamela Hupp.
Russell Faria’s defense attorney attempted to portray Hupp as a possible suspect during the original trial. Russell has maintained his innocence since his conviction.
In the days prior to her murder, Betsy Faria named Hupp as a beneficiary on $150,000 of her life insurance policy. Betsy left $100,000 in Russell’s name.
During the trial, Hupp testified she put two-thirds of the money she received into a trust fund for Betsy’s two daughters. However, it was later discovered that Hupp established that trust fund days before the trial and then revoked the trust two weeks after the verdict.
Hupp has since offered differing accounts about what Betsy Faria wanted done with the money. Hupp told police, jurors, and a reporter for the Post-Dispatch that either some or all of the money was to go to Besty’s daughters. But in a recent deposition in a suit filed by the daughters, Hupp told the insurance company and lawyers that the money was intended to be hers.
In the first trial, Hupp said she dropped Betsy Faria off outside her Troy home.
Information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was used in this report.