ST. CHARLES • A judge on Thursday ruled against the two adult daughters of Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria in their fight to claim their murdered mother’s $150,000 life insurance policy.
Faria, who suffered from terminal cancer, left the money to her friend Pamela Hupp, whom she had met while working together in an insurance office. It was left with vague instructions on its use.
Five days before her murder, Faria changed the beneficiary of the policy to Hupp because Faria did not want her husband, Russ Faria, her daughters Leah and Mariah Day, or her parents to have the money, Hupp has claimed. Faria wanted Hupp to give some money to the daughters when they were older, if Hupp could, Hupp testified.
Hupp testified during a deposition that she would not give the daughters any money, but in the civil trial she said that she still might.
The Days sued Hupp and her husband, Mark, in 2014.
In his ruling, St. Charles County Circuit Judge Ted House said: “Pamela may ultimately choose to share some of the money with Leah and Mariah or she may not. She has been pressured by the police, hounded by the family and sued by Leah and Mariah. Over time her resentment may soften.”
David Butsch, an attorney for the Days, said his clients were “very disappointed’” by the ruling and plan to appeal. Hupp could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
House also made the point that if Faria wanted her daughters to have the money at some point, she knew how to make that happen since she had worked in an insurance office.
“The relief that Plaintiffs are seeking, namely to get all of the money now, is the one thing we know for sure that Betsy did not intend,” House wrote. “If that is what Betsy wanted to do, she would have done it. She did not.”
Faria, 42, was found stabbed to death Dec. 27, 2011, in the home she shared with her husband near Troy, Mo. Her husband was tried and convicted. But that conviction was later vacated and he was acquitted in a second trial.
Police video showed a detective quizzing Hupp about the money and discussing that it would look better at the murder trial if she put it in a trust for the victim’s children.
Hupp testified at the first murder trial that the money was for the daughters, but she would contradict that later. She later insisted the money was all hers and also said she had a secret romance with Betsy Faria.
House wrote in his ruling that he knew Hupp’s inconsistent statements about what she would do with the money damaged her overall credibility, “but such statements shed little light on what Plaintiffs ultimately need to prove in order to prevail, namely Betsy’s specific intent at the time Betsy named Pamela as the designated beneficiary.”
He concluded that the sad thing is Faria couldn’t tell anyone today what she intended in December 2011.
“The way to honor her memory and the proper course of action for the Court under the law and the evidence is not to speculate about what she might have intended. It is rather to give effect to what she actually did, which is to allow her close friend Pamela Hupp to use the money at Pamela’s discretion.”