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Pam Hupp makes first appearance in Betsy Faria murder charge

Hupp walked into the Lincoln County Courthouse wearing a face mask and glasses. Her hands were clasped in front with pink handcuffs around her wrists

LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. — Pam Hupp stood before a judge Tuesday morning in a case that’s made national headlines for a decade.

Hupp walked into the Lincoln County courthouse with three officers surrounding her. She was wearing a face mask and glasses. She clasped her hands in front of her with pink handcuffs on her wrists.

It was the first look at the convicted murderer in nearly two years since she was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the murder of Louis Gumpenberger in St. Charles County.

This time, she was in court in Lincoln County on a first-degree murder charge in the 2011 death of Betsy Faria. Hupp was charged in the murder earlier this month after years of suspicion.

Hupp wanted to waive the arraignment hearing, but Judge Greg Allsberry refused. So she was brought from a prison in Chillicothe to the Lincoln County Courthouse in Troy where Allsberry could read the charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action to Hupp in person.

"It was on the record so there's no question that it took place because she might come back later and deny that she ever understood she was charged with those two counts," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dulany Harms.  

Hupp waived her right to a bond review hearing Tuesday, because no bond will be set, given that she's already in prison for Gumpenberger's murder. 

Hupp did not speak during the hearing, and in a span of about two minutes, it was over.

But the moment meant a lot to Russ Faria's family. He was convicted of his wife's murder, but that conviction was later overturned on appeal. 

"It was really quick, but it was a long time coming," said Rachel Faria, Russ Faria's sister. "Honestly I was not sure she would ever get charged with anything to do with my sister-in-law's murder, so even this was a huge thing for our family."

One of Betsy Faria's daughters also attended the hearing.

Lincoln County Prosecutor Michael Wood has said he’s going to seek the death penalty against Hupp. She pleaded not guilty on paper to the charges ahead of the hearing, so she did not enter her plea again in court Tuesday.

Wood said he agreed with the judge's decision to force Hupp to appear in court to hear the charges against her.

"It's rare for a judge to do that but it's not uncommon with a case that's as infamous and that's garnered so much notoriety," he said.

Hupp's attorneys, Stephanie Zipfel and Tony Davidson, have filed a motion seeking to dismiss the armed criminal action charge against Hupp.

Charging documents filed earlier this month outlined investigative details never before released about the case against Hupp and what prosecutors said was her motive in Faria's death.

Investigators said she waited until Faria was weak and lethargic from a chemotherapy treatment before she started stabbing her repeatedly as she lay on a couch under a blanket. Then, she dipped Faria’s socks in her own blood and spread it around the house to make it look like her husband killed her in a domestic assault, according to court documents charging Hupp with the 2011 murder.

READ MORE: Pam Hupp charged with murder in Betsy Faria case

There has long been suspicion that Hupp was involved in Faria's death. Hupp was the last person to see Faria alive before she was stabbed dozens of times and left for dead in her home on Dec. 27, 2011. Hupp became the sole beneficiary of Faria's $150,000 life insurance policy just days before she died.

Faria's husband, Russ, was convicted of the crime in 2013 and spent more than a year in prison but was acquitted in a retrial two years later. 

He agreed to a $2 million settlement from an insurance company for the Lincoln County police officers who investigated the case. The officers did not admit to wrongdoing as a term of the settlement.

Russ Faria has previously said, "The only way that I can describe Pam Hupp is evil incarnate. Compare her to people like Charles Manson."

Hupp already is serving a life sentence for the murder of Gumpenberger in 2016. She entered an Alford plea in the case in 2019.

Hupp shot and killed Gumpenberger during a staged home invasion and attempted robbery inside her O'Fallon, Missouri, home, claiming she was acting in self-defense. Prosecutors called it a desperate attempt to try and take attention away from her involvement in Faria's case.

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