Woman charged in strange plot that ended in murder of St. Charles man


Video taken from fox2now.com[su_divider top=”no” size=”4″]Emily Miller[/su_divider]


Phil Scherer | Reporter
August 22, 2016; 8 p.m.

A woman who fatally shot an alleged intruder was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action on Tuesday after police uncovered a twisted tale with ties to a 2011 murder case.

Pamela Hupp, 57, of O’Fallon was arrested outside of her home on Tuesday, Aug. 23, on charges of first-degree murder of Louis Gumpenberger, a man she claimed had confronted her in her driveway and followed her into her home.


Authorities outlined the charges against Hupp at a press conference at the O’Fallon courthouse on Tuedsay, Aug. 23, at 3 p.m. The following information comes from the statements of prosecuting attorney Tim Lohmar and O’Fallon police chief  Roy Joachimstaler.

Police say Hupp lured Gumpenberger, 33, to her home in a plot to sway suspicion away from her and toward someone else in the murder of Betsy Faria, a Lincoln County woman who was stabbed more than 50 times.

Hupp allegedly posed as a producer for the Dateline news program, authorities said in a press conference Tuesday. She offered Gumpenberger $1,000 in exchange for him playing a role in a simulated 911 call.

Instead she really called 911 and gunned down Gumpenberger after telling dispatchers he was an intruder, prosecutors say. She then planted evidence on Gumpenberger indicating that Faria’s husband, Russ, who had been acquitted of his wife’s murder, had sent Gumpenberger to get back “Russ’” money.

Hupp had been a key witness in Russ Faria’s trial for murder; she was the beneficiary of Betsy Faria’s life insurance policy. Hupp claimed Faria signed the policy over to her because she was afraid of her husband and wanted to make sure her daughters got the money.

After Russell Faria was acquitted, his lawyers named Hupp as a person that should be investigated for the crime. Betsy Faria was persuaded to sign over her $150,000 life insurance policy to Hupp prior to her death, instead of Faria’s husband Russell.

On Aug. 16, Hupp made a call to 911 at 12:08 p.m. claiming that there had been a male breaking into her home and that she had been forced to shoot him in self-defense.

At the time, she claimed that she had been sitting in her car in her driveway when a silver four-door sedan pulled up behind her. She said that a man jumped out of the passenger side door and entered the back seat of her car. She claimed that the man put a knife to her throat and began making statements about driving him to the bank to get “Russ’ money.”

She said that when he looked over his shoulder while in the back seat, she struck him, knocking the knife out of his hand.

Hupp claimed that the man followed her into her home, where she was forced to fatally shoot him with a revolver.

When police found the man, there was a handwritten note in his pocket with instructions to kidnap Hupp, get her to collect the life insurance money and then kill her. Police also found $900 in his pocket.

Click on the image to read the full version of the probable cause statement from the Pam Hupp charges.

Further investigation by police has shown that her story appeared to be an attempt to frame Russell Faria and to “take some of the heat off of her” in Betsy Faria’s case. Police believe that Hupp planted the note and money on his body, and that she planted a knife in her car.

The police investigation shows that Hupp traveled in her car to Gumpenberger’s apartment complex mere minutes before the murder took place. It does not appear that Hupp had any prior connection to Gumpenberger, who was unable to drive after sustaining severe brain injuries in a 2005 car crash.

Police believe that Hupp had been searching for a person to use the Dateline ruse on for more than a week before the murder took place. It appears that she had approached a woman earlier in the week as a potential victim, but let the woman go after she asked to see Hupp’s ‘Dateline’ credentials.

Hupp was arrested just before noon on Tuesday, Aug. 23, and is currently being held on a $2 million cash-only bond.

Police say that shortly after arriving at the police station, Hupp said that she needed to use the restroom. After she did not come out of the bathroom in a timely manner, she was found stabbing herself repeatedly with a ballpoint pen that she had unknowingly brought into the station.

She is currently in a St. Louis-area hospital being treated for injuries sustained during the incident. She is in stable condition.

Her mugshot was not immediately available.