Prosecutor refiles case accusing Missouri woman accused of killing her friend

TROY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor has dropped and refiled the murder case against Pamela Hupp, a killing that inspired a TV miniseries.

Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood charged Hupp with first-degree murder in July 2021, accusing her of killing her friend, Betsy Faria, a decade earlier. Faria's husband, Russ, spent time in prison for the crime before his conviction was overturned.

On Friday, Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his office decided to refile the case to petition for a closer venue. The original case had been moved on a change of venue to Springfield, about four hours away from Lincoln County.

Wood hopes the move will ease the financial and travel burden on prosecutors, witnesses and Faria’s family.

“It was too much to ask of witnesses and Besty Faria’s loved ones,” he said.

Phone calls seeking comment Saturday from Hupp's attorney were unanswered.

Prosecutors allege Hupp fatally stabbed Faria in 2011 for the $150,000 life insurance policy that Faria had switched over to Hupp days before her death. They say Hupp staged the scene to implicate Russ Faria.

Russ Faria was sentenced in 2013 to life in prison but the conviction was overturned in 2015. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department last year reached a $2 million settlement with him for the wrongful conviction.

The Faria case was the subject of an NBC miniseries last year, “The Thing About Pam,” which starred Renee Zellweger.

Hupp already is in prison for another killing. In 2019, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole for the 2016 fatal shooting of 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger.

In that case, Hupp staged a fake kidnapping to divert attention from herself in a reinvestigation of the Faria killing, prosecutors said. They claimed she lured Gumpenberger to her home with claims she was a producer for NBC’s Dateline in need of help reenacting a 911 call. Gumpenberger had mental and physical disabilities from an accident.