2nd person says killing suspect faked working for TV show

AP News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2017 2:49 PM

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A second person has come forward to say that a woman accused of killing a man she lured to her suburban St. Louis home by pretending to be a "Dateline" producer tried the same story with him.

It's the latest twist in a case involving Pamela Hupp, who authorities say killed a man she found at random in an effort to incriminate another man involved in a previous murder case in which Hupp was a key witness.

Brent Charlton told reporters that someone matching Hupp's description used the producer story on Aug. 10, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2kFn21H ). Authorities won't comment on Charlton's claim, citing the ongoing investigation, but he is listed as a witness in charging documents against Hupp.

Charlton is the second person to make such claims. Prosecutors said previously that a woman reported she was offered $1,000 to help the purported producer but backed out when the stranger couldn't produce credentials. Due to her safety concerns, the Post-Dispatch is not identifying the woman or where she lives. Authorities say surveillance footage from a camera on the woman's home captured a license plate that matched Hupp's.

Hupp, of O'Fallon, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the Aug. 16 killing of Louis Gumpenberger, a 33-year-old St. Charles man who was left physically and mentally impaired from a 2005 car wreck. Investigators have said they believe Hupp lured Gumpenberger from outside his St. Charles home, telling him he worked for the TV news show "Dateline" and suggesting she would pay for his help.

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.

Federal prosecutors are re-examining Faria's death after her husband's murder conviction of her husband, was reversed and he was acquitted in 2015. Hupp denies any involvement in Faria's death.

Charlton told reporters that he's glad he was on the job, with 12 lawns waiting to be mowed, when he was approached and asked to do a reenactment for "Dateline."

"That would have been me," Charlton said of Gumpenberger.

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This story has been corrected to reflect who authorities say Pamela Hupp was trying to incriminate to Russell Faria.