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Judge provides path to lift freeze on money linked to murdered friend

Judge provides path to lift freeze on money linked to murdered friend

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EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story misstated the judge's action. 

ST. CHARLES COUNTY • A judge on Wednesday offered an option that would lift a freeze on an O’Fallon, Mo., woman’s assets in a dispute over $150,000 in insurance money paid out after a Lincoln County woman’s murder.

After a series of conferences between opposing lawyers in St. Charles Circuit Court Judge Daniel Pelikan’s chambers, and attorneys and their clients outside the courtroom, the two sides struck a deal that would allow Pamela Hupp to use her assets. In return, she would have to post a $150,000 bond that would ensure that the daughters of Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria will be paid if they ultimately win their civil case against Hupp.

He also set a trial date: Oct. 21.

Pelikan froze Pamela Hupp’s assets this month after lawyers in a civil suit against Hupp claimed that she had defrauded Faria’s daughters, Leah and Mariah Day, and was spending the money on herself. The order applied to bank accounts and Hupp’s house.

Faria changed the beneficiary of one of her insurance policies to Hupp just days before she was fatally stabbed at home in 2011.

Although Hupp told the life insurance company that Faria wanted her to have the money, she has given conflicting accounts to the Post-Dispatch, friends, Faria’s relatives, police, the jury that convicted Faria’s husband, Russell Faria, of murder, and in a July 21 deposition in the civil suit. Russell Faria was sentenced to life without parole.

Hupp’s attorney, Christine Alsop, has called the claims “baseless and frivolous” in court filings, as well as unsupported by evidence. She said that the Days admitted that they had no personal knowledge of their mother’s intentions.

Faria’s murder — and Russell Faria’s claim that he was wrongfully convicted — were the subject of a joint Post-Dispatch-Fox 2 investigation published in March.

Russell Faria’s supporters say prosecutors improperly included evidence during the trial and succeeded in excluding other potential suspects, including Hupp.

Russell Faria’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, has said he was not allowed to cross-examine Hupp during the trial about inconsistencies in her story and about the life insurance.

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