Missouri prosecutor seeks death penalty against woman

Execution

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor said Thursday he’ll seek the death penalty against a suburban St. Louis woman accused of killing a disabled man to shift attention away from her in another slaying.

St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar’s announcement that he’ll pursue capital punishment against Pamela Huff of O’Fallon comes at a time 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.

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.

Hupp is accused of planting evidence to make it appear Gumpenberger was trying to kidnap her and take $150,000 in insurance money she received after her friend, Betsy Faria, was killed in 2011. Authorities said Hupp was attempting to incriminate Faria’s husband, Russell Faria, by making it appear he had sent Gumpenberger to obtain some of the life insurance Hupp had collected.

Russell Faria previously was convicted of killing his wife, then later acquitted in a retrial, and believes Hupp should be investigated. Hupp has denied any involvement in Betsy Faria’s death.

In Gumpenberger’s case, Lohmar said Thursday, “I do believe once the jury hears all the evidence they will absolutely believe this fits in the category where the death penalty should be considered.”

A judge is set to hear arguments April 7 over a request by Hupp to move the trial out of St. Charles County or have an outside jury brought in, given already considerable regional publicity about the case.

Hupp attorney Nick Williams said Thursday that Lohmar’s comments about a possible death penalty only complicate matters.

“Another press conference. The prosecutor is doing his best to make it impossible to seat an impartial local jury,” Williams said in a statement.