GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — Pamela Hupp's murder trial has been transferred to Greene County, Missouri.
Hupp, 64, could face the death penalty in connection with the infamous 2011 stabbing death of Betsy Faria. The change of venue was authorized in the Circuit Court of Lincoln County on Oct. 28.
The case will be transferred from the 45th Judicial Circuit to the 31st Judicial Circuit, according to a court document obtained by 5 On Your Side.
The defense and prosecution both agreed on this venue.
Tony Davidson and Steven Lewis, who are attorneys in Hupp's defense, and Michael Wood and Dulany Harms, who are the State prosecutors, both signed the document on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28.
"The state did anticipate that Hupp would file for a change of venue," according to a statement from Wood. "Defense's request for a change of venue is automatic in this circumstance. State and defense agreed and stipulated to the case being heard in Green County."
Faria's husband, Russ Faria, was convicted of his wife’s murder in November 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. But defense attorney Joel Schwartz fought the conviction and filed a successful appeal for a new trial. The conviction was overturned in the re-trial, and Russ was freed after spending three years in prison.
5 On Your Side asked Russ's defense attorney, Joel Schwartz, about the change in venue.
“In a high-profile case like this, it’s more than likely that most, if not all, people who would potentially be summoned for jury have formed an opinion on the case," he said.
Schwartz said the move is an enormous effort to give Hupp a fair and impartial jury.
“It would be much, much easier to find an impartial jury in a place three hours away like Greene County, than it certainly would be to find an impartial jury in Lincoln County," he said.
Schwartz said there are lots of steps until this case can be tried. He said he doesn't anticipate it being tried before 2024.
In July 2021, Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood charged Hupp with Betsy Faria’s murder, accusing her of framing Russ Faria for the crime.
Charging documents state the day of her death, Betsy Faria had chemotherapy treatment. She was at her mother’s house playing board games with friends when Hupp showed up and insisted on driving Betsy home, court records recount.
Prosecutors said Hupp waited until her friend was weak and lethargic from a chemotherapy treatment before she began stabbing her repeatedly as she lay on a couch under a blanket. Then, she dipped the victim'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.
In announcing the murder charge, the prosecutor announced he would investigate whether there was any prosecutorial misconduct on the part of his predecessor, Leah Chaney, or the police who investigated the original case.
In an exclusive interview with 5 On Your Side, Chaney maintained her conduct during the prosecution of Russ Faria was “above board” and denied any wrongdoing. She said she never considered Hupp as a suspect because she didn't believe Hupp was physically capable of inflicting the level of stab wounds Betsy Faria suffered. She said she won a conviction against Russ Faria because the evidence police gave her all pointed to him.
In September, Hupp, 64, waived her right to a preliminary hearing. This was an unexpected move for someone who is facing the death penalty, according to criminal attorneys including Schwartz.
“I'm puzzled as to why Pam Hupp would waive her preliminary hearing,” Schwartz said. “I believe that her attorney is at least well versed in the law and understands what they are doing."
He said he couldn't think of a reason for this strategy.
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