A St. Charles County judge on Tuesday delayed the high-profile murder trial of Pamela Hupp.
It was originally slated to begin in October, but is now scheduled to be held over three weeks beginning in April 2018.
Hupp is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2016 fatal shooting of Louis Gumpenberger, 33, at her O’Fallon home.
Prosecutors allege Hupp lured him there as part of an elaborate plot to divert attention away from herself for the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria in Lincoln County.
They claim she was posing as a Dateline NBC producer and persuaded Gumpenberger, a special needs man, to come over to recreate a series of 911 calls.
Prosecutors said Hupp then tried to make it look like Gumpenberger broke into her home to kidnap her.
Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham previously ordered that jurors would be brought in from Clay County, Missouri after defense attorneys raised concerns about media coverage surrounding the case.
Also on Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals issued an opinion related to a pending civil matter against Hupp and the death of Faria.
A three judge panel upheld a trial court’s previous ruling that Hupp is the rightful beneficiary of Faria’s life insurance policy.
According to court documents, Faria changed the beneficiary designation on her $150,000 State Farm policy on December 23, 2011 from her husband, Russ Faria, to Hupp.
Faria at the time was undergoing chemotherapy for stage IV breast cancer. Four days after making the switch on her policy, she was found dead inside her home after being stabbed 55 times.
Russ Faria was convicted of her murder in 2013, but later acquitted in 2015 on appeal. Part of his appeal was based on new evidence that Hupp contradicted herself with regard to plans for the life insurance money.
In the trial court ruling, judges acknowledged Hupp “has lied on occasion but she is not a very good liar. Pamela’s admissions about when she lied previously are probably true. In other words, it is pretty easy to tell when she is lying and when she is not.”
They also cited in their decision a specific exchange between Faria and Hupp in which Faria asks, “If you could, when my daughters are older, give them some money,” and Hupp responds “OK.”
In upholding the trial court’s ruling, the appellate court agreed that it’s a “stretch to suggest that Hupp’s response is a promise that imposes an absolute obligation on Hupp to do anything.”
As such, without that promise, the appellate court ruled Faria’s daughters, Leah and Mariah, cannot establish either constructive fraud or unjust enrichment.
Five on Your Side reached out to various members of the Faria family, and received no calls or messages back. Hupp remains in police custody awaiting trial.
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