ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOX) – Pamela Hupp — the St. Charles County woman accused of killing a mentally disabled man to deflect attention from herself in another murder case — had her first court appearance Friday.
Hupp sat in the jury box in jailhouse clothes while the judge read the charges against her – first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
No plea was entered at this time. Hupp is represented by defense attorney Brad Kessler.
The prosecution believes Hupp shot and killed Lewis Gumpenberger earlier this month to draw away suspicion from herself in a separate case, the 2011 stabbing death of Betsy Faria in Lincoln County.
Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says the routine court appearance lasted all of about 20 seconds.
Next step: The court will consult with attorneys about scheduling all the significant court dates in the case. The next formal step will be the probable-cause determination — whether that’s by a preliminary hearing or a grand jury.
Meanwhile, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says investigators have had some calls from people who may have been approached by Hupp asking them to help re-enact 911 calls for Dateline NBC.
“We do have a few people who have reached out to the investigative team,” Lohmar said. “Those leaders are being investigated right now, so we don’t have anything concrete at this point.”
In announcing charges against Hupp earlier this week, Lohmar said one witness claims Hupp approached her, claiming she was with Dateline NBC, and offered her money to help re-enact 911 calls. The woman refused and later identified Hupp as the person who had made her the offer.
Authorities believe Gumpenberger was deceived by the same ruse, and that Hupp shot and killed him in her home while she was on the phone with 911 claiming that an intruder was in the house.
According to the prosecution theory, the Gumpenberger murder was carried out to make it look as if Gumpenberger had been sent by someone else to kidnap Hupp and get back some of “Russ’s money” — an apparent reference to the $150,000 in life insurance money Hupp got when Betsy Faria died. Faria’s husband Russ did not receive the life insurance money, because Betsy Faria’s policy was changed to direct the money to Hupp shortly before her death.
Russ Faria was convicted of killing his wife, based largely on testimony from Hupp. But his conviction was overturned, because the court did not allow his attorney to present evidence in the trial that Hupp was the killer.
After her arrest this week on the Gumpenberger murder charge, authorities say Hupp tried to kill herself in jail, stabbing her neck and wrists with an ink pen.
She remains behind bars on suicide watch.
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