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Pam Hupp ordered to pay $3 million to victim's mother

Louis Gumpenberger's mother, Margaret Burch, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in 2019

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Margaret Burch wanted to be sure that Pamela Hupp, the woman who killed her son, could never profit from telling the story of how she murdered him – and, on Friday, she believes a St. Charles County judge granted her wish by awarding her a $3 million wrongful death judgement, according to her attorney,

Hupp was convicted in 2016 of killing Burch’s son, Louis Gumpenberger, 33, after luring the man, who had a brain injury, to her O’Fallon home. There, Hupp shot him and planted a knife and kidnapping note on him and was sentenced to life in prison in August 2019.

His mother filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Hupp in October 2019, knowing Hupp didn’t have any money, said Burch’s attorney, Gary Burger.

“That’s why we did this,” Burger said. “We didn’t want her to profit from her murders and crimes.

“You always hear about how years later there is a made-for-TV move and we don’t want her to profit from that, and that’s what Margaret told the judge today.”

Burch also told St. Charles County Judge Michael Fagras that her 15-year-old grandson, Trevelyn, still has nightmares about his father. She has custody of the teen, Burger said.

It was the first hearing Burger said he has attended inside a courtroom since the coronavirus pandemic began. And, although everyone was wearing masks, he said you could tell most people there were crying as Burch recalled her love for her son and her grandson’s grief.

Gumpenberger suffered a traumatic brain injury during a car accident, which left him with the developmental capacity of a 10-year-old, Burger said.

He worked in recent years caring for others with developmental disabilities, the attorney said.

“He didn’t make a lot of money, but every Friday when he got his paycheck, he would take his son to Walmart to get a toy,” Burger said.

When he was first murdered, that was the memory his then 11-year-old son clung to and told his grandmother he missed, Burger said.

“The three of them lived together and now it’s just the two of them,” Burger said.

Hupp remains incarcerated in the Chillicothe Correctional Center.

Hupp told authorities that she killed Gumpenberger in self-defense after he tried to kidnap her on Russell Faria’s behalf. Faria’s wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria, was stabbed to death in 2011. Faria’s conviction for his wife’s murder was overturned and he was acquitted of the crime in 2015. Her life insurance documents had been changed shortly before her murder to make Hupp the beneficiary of the policy. Hupp has denied killing her friend.

The Faria case has been the topic of national news stories and television shows.

More on the Hupp case