An insurance company agreed to pay $2 million to settle claims that police misconduct put Russell Faria in prison for life for the fatal stabbing of his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria, in Lincoln County, Mo., in 2011, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Faria’s conviction was overturned in 2013, partly because he wasn’t able to argue in court that an alternate suspect killed his wife. He was found not guilty at a retrial later that year, after spending a total of 42 months in prison, his lawyers said. The case has been the subject of national attention, including by NBC’s “Dateline” and documentary filmmakers. Joel Schwartz, a Faria lawyer, said, “He’s thrilled.”
Faria and his lawyers complained that police should have focused on Pamela Hupp, a friend of Betsy Faria, who fatally shot a mentally disabled man in 2016. Hupp is now serving a term of life in prison without parole. Faria’s lawsuit claimed that he was arrested without probable cause and that police fabricated evidence and failed to investigate Hupp, who was the more obvious suspect. Police will not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which is for the limits of the insurance policy, Faria’s lawyers said. Faria returned home on Dec. 27, 2011, to find his wife dead. She had been stabbed an estimated 55 times. Although he had four alibi witnesses backed by store and restaurant receipts and surveillance cameras, he was charged with murder. Hupp was the last known person to see Betsy Faria alive and had been named the beneficiary of a $150,000 life insurance policy days before Faria’s murder.