Russ Faria sues Lincoln County law enforcement

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(KPLR) – In a lawsuit filed today, Russ Faria accuses the Lincoln County Prosecutor and several investigating officers of fabricating evidence during the investigation of his murdered wife.

Betsy Faria was found stabbed to death in 2011.

A St. Louis judge exonerated Russ Faria in November, 2015.  In 2013, a jury convicted him after a Lincoln County judge silenced evidence -- a life insurance policy that went to someone else.

Attorney Bevis Schock said, “If they`d looked halfway close at the evidence they`d know that the defendant didn`t do it.”

Schock is teaming up with Joel Schwartz and Nathan Swanson, the lawyers who represented Russ Faria in his two murder trials.

They say Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey acted as an investigator, working closely with detectives

Attorney Joel Schwartz said, “From day one when I reviewed the discovery in this case, it sort of shocked the conscience the actions of the police officers as well as a prosecutor.  They clearly decided who they felt did it than worked to pigeonhole their evidence into that theory.”

Photos taken by Sheriff’s deputies appear to disprove what police and the prosecutor said for years about a bloody trail leading to the kitchen sink.  The detectives and prosecutor described an area of the Faria kitchen glowing under a luminescent chemical spray.  They claimed it was proof Russ Faria tried cleaning up blood.  The prosecution withheld the pictures for years, claiming the camera malfunctioned.

Schwartz said, “It was clear where the evidence led and it was clear the motivations of others in committing this crime.”

Schock added, “There are three things that get you home in a case like this – 1.They fabricate evidence.  2. They ignore another obvious suspect and 3. They ignore exonerating evidence.  We think they did all three.”

Attorney Schock just won a multi-million dollar judgment against Lincoln County in the case of a former drug court officer who sexually abused women.  The County reportedly tried to settle for 5 thousand dollars before the jury awarded $2.25 million.

Regarding today's lawsuit, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says it can't comment on a civil case.  The Prosecutor did not answer my requests for comment.

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