ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A suburban St. Louis woman accused of killing a disabled man to shift attention away from her in another slaying will have a jury from another county decide the case, which could result in the death penalty.
St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham on Friday sided with Pamela Hupp’s attorneys in ruling that jurors will be brought in from an unspecified county for Hupp’s murder trial, given the intense publicity the case has received locally, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/2ojdV8k ). Prosecutors didn’t oppose the request.
“The court recognized Mrs. Hupp’s right to a fair and impartial jury. We respect the Court’s decision,” said Nick Williams, one of Hupp’s attorneys.
Hupp, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in last August’s shooting death of 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger, a St. Charles man who was left physically and mentally impaired after a 2005 car wreck.
According to prosecutors, Hupp lured Gumpenberger to her home, killed him and tried to make it look like he had been trying to kidnap her and take $150,000 in insurance money she received after her friend, Betsy Faria, was killed in 2011. They allege that Hupp tried to make it look like Faria’s husband, Russell Faria, had sent Gumpenberger, and that Hupp did this to deflect attention from her in the re-investigation of Betsy Faria’s death.
Russell Faria had been convicted of killing his wife, but he was later acquitted in a retrial. He believes Hupp should be investigated in his wife’s killing.
Hupp has denied any wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged in Betsy Faria’s death.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar is seeking the death penalty.
No women are among 26 Missouri inmates awaiting execution by injection. A woman has not been executed in Missouri since 1953, but that was a federal case. Bonnie Heady was sent to the gas chamber with lover Carl Hall for the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Kansas City.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com
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