TROY, MO (KPLR) - Newly revealed evidence brings a dramatic twist in the re-trial of Russ Faria. It’s dozens of photos taken inside the Faria Home, one week after the murder. More than 100 pictures raise questions about where blood was not found at the grisly crime scene.
In day two of the re-trial, interrogating officers also described Russ Faria's demeanor after he called 911 reporting his wife stabbed to death. A medical examiner later found she had been stabbed more than 50 times.
On the stand, a Lincoln County Sheriff police commander said Faria showed the most emotion when he was alone in the interrogation room, yet the officer said he never saw the suspect cry.
The defense pointed out that in hours of interviews, police confirmed everything Faria was telling them.
Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey also showed a lot of blood evidence, but did not connect it to Russ Faria. Instead the prosecutor pointed out that it was unusual police did not find any blood on Faria, since he told them he laid near his wife after he found her dead.
The prosecution appears to be setting up an argument that Faria showered, even though crime scene techs tested drains in the house and found no blood.
A crime scene tech also took the stand saying he analyzed the bloody knife found in Betsy Faria`s neck. He said at first it appeared to be a palm print on the handle, but on closer examination he said it shows the killer was covering their hand. The defense says that shows someone set up Faria.
Then the dramatic moment; the defense revealed 132 photos it claimed the prosecution hid during the first trial.
Defense attorney Joel Schwartz was cross-examining Commander Mike Merkel when the scene turned into what felt like a classic courtroom TV drama.
Schwartz was asking about when investigators returned to the Faria home January 3rd of 2012 to look for hidden blood evidence in the kitchen and dining room. During the 2013 trial, prosecutors told the jury that police sprayed Luminol and found evidence of blood clean up. Today Schwartz asked Merkel, “I asked you in 2013 ‘What did the pictures show.’ You said ‘Absolutely nothing.’” Schwartz showed Merkel his testimony from the first trial and then continued. “I asked you why and you said ‘because of a malfunction in the camera that’s been since repaired.’”
Merkel responded, “Yes.”
Schwartz: “No pictures were developed that day?”
Merkel said, “No.”
Schwartz handed him a thick manila envelope and asked “What’s that?”
Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey turned to Schwartz and asked softly, “What is it? What are you showing him?”
Schwartz and Merkel flipped through picture after picture showing cabinets, linoleum tiles and a drain pipe. Merkel then clarified saying, “I was speaking about chemical luminescence.”
Schwartz responded that the photos “didn’t show what you wanted them to show.”
On redirect, Leah Askey suggested that Schwartz was mischaracterizing earlier testimony asking Merkel, “What was wrong with the camera?”
Merkel said, “There was a malfunction with the aperture light controlled by the camera.” He added, “We were unable to capture luminescence in the photos. We couldn’t document what we saw with the naked eye.”
The prosecution had no explanation for why authorities didn’t provide the photos until recently.