ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The death penalty is still in play for Pam Hupp as she approaches a scheduled September murder trial, but a St. Charles County Judge says he needs more time to consider other defense motions.
Hupp is charged with murder first and armed criminal action after the August 2016 shooting death of Louis Gumpenberger.
Hupp claimed Gumpenberger, a man with disabilities, forced himself into her home. She says she shot him in self-defense.
Twelve police officers and investigators took the stand Friday, painting a picture of premeditated murder by Hupp. They also suggested she planted evidence, such as a knife.
The defense argued that the supposedly planted evidence only had Gumpenberger’s fingerprints.
The most intense arguments were about the death penalty.
“I would put this case against any in the country in terms of depravity of mind – this woman (he points at Hupp),” prosecutor Phil Groenweghe.
Defense attorney Kim Freter interrupted, “Your honor, I’m going to object at this point. This is a preliminary matter. He doesn’t get to yell and scream and point fingers at my client and keep calling me out by name and keep saying ‘Her. Her. Her.’”
At another point in the arguments, Groenweghe said, “This is a woman who went all over St. Charles County looking for someone she could set up and make a fake 911 call so she could execute the person while they were on the phone with 911.”
Again, Freter interjected.
“Your honor, the court hasn’t heard any evidence,” she said. “This is the argument about the statutory scheme regarding Missouri’s death penalty.”
There was one humorous break in the hearing after continued discussion of a search warrant involving Pam Hupp’s safe. Investigators were looking for cash when they reportedly found “one thing” inside the safe – “KY intense.” There was no further explanation.
We also learned a little about what it was like the day officers responded to Hupp’s shooting. Two officers described driving up to the scene and seeing Hupp outside of her home walking her dog on a leash. One officer described her as “excited,” not crying, but talking fast and breathing heavy when she said she’s shot someone in her home. Another officer said Hupp told her, “What’s with all the home burglaries around here lately?”
The judge said he’ll decide on the suppression arguments soon.