In 2016, what seemed like a case of self-defense turned out to be so much more in the death of Louis Gumpenberger. He was killed at Pam Hupp’s home after claiming he had attacked her. However, Pam’s connection to another murder from 2011 meant the authorities dug deeper into her story. NBC’s ‘The Thing About Pam‘ is a crime-drama series chronicling Pam’s involvement in Betsy Faria’s 2011 murder. So, if you’re wondering what happened in Louis’ case, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Louis Gumpenberger Die?
Louis Royse Gumpenberger was a St Charles, Missouri, native. The 33-year-old lived with his mother, Margaret Birch, at the time and only came out for walks once in a while. In 2005, Louis was severely hurt in a drunken car crash. After hitting his head, Louis was left mentally and physically disabled. At the time of his death, Louis had two children: Desi and Trevelyan.
Then, 911 calls around noon on August 16, 2016, led the police to a house in O’Fallon, Missouri. After reports of an active home invasion, the police rushed to the house only to find Louis dead. He had been shot at least twice. The authorities found $900 in Louis’ pocket and a note with instructions. These pieces of evidence were instrumental in solving the case down the line.
Why Did Pam Hupp Kill Louis Gumpenberger?
The person who called 911 was Pam Hupp. According to her, she had come home after visiting a thrift store when she saw a car drop off a man outside her home. He then reportedly rushed at Pam with a knife as she sat in her vehicle. After knocking the knife off during a struggle, she ran into the house. Pam said that this man was demanding “Russ’ money” from the bank. Inside her residence, she shot the intruder with a .38 Ruger she had in her nightstand.
Russ was Russell Faria. In December 2011, he found his wife, Betsy, dead in his house. He was first convicted for the murder but then exonerated thanks to new evidence. Pam was Betsy’s friend and a central figure in the case back then. She was the last person to have seen Betsy alive. Furthermore, the victim, a cancer patient, had changed the beneficiary on her life insurance policy to Pam just days before her murder. After Betsy’s death, Pam had received about $150,000.
Part of the note found on Louis said, “Take Hupp back to [the] house and get rid of her. Make it look like Russ’ wife. Make sure [the] knife sticking [is] out of [the] neck.” It also seemed to have instructions to kidnap Pam and get Russ’ money from the bank. However, the authorities weren’t so sure. Louis’ condition after the accident made it unlikely for him to mount an attack. Then, evidence began falling in place that implicated Pam in Louis’ death.
A $100 bill found in Pam’s possession was part of the same sequence as four notes found on Louis. Then, about 45 minutes before the murder, phone pings showed Pam was in Louis’ neighborhood. At the time, she claimed to have gone to her daughter’s home about two miles from where Louis lived. Then, a man and a woman said that a few days before the murder, they were approached by a woman claiming to work for Dateline and wanted a soundbite for an episode about 911 calls. She offered $1000 for that.
The woman who went to the police claimed that she was approached on August 10, 2016, by the supposed producer in an SUV. She agreed to the deal initially but asked to be driven home when the woman couldn’t provide credentials. Surveillance footage at the house showed the license plate numbers of the SUV matched Pam’s car, and she was later identified as the supposed Dateline employee by the woman.
The prosecutors believed that Pam picked Louis up by offering a similar deal and brought him home. They felt that she wanted to frame Russ by staging a home invasion and portraying Louis as a hitman hired by Russ to kill her. The police traced the knife found in Pam’s car to a local store where she had bought other items. These items were similar to the ones found at her place. Furthermore, the knife was found in the exact position that Pam stored her knives in the kitchen.
The authorities also believed that the note was written on paper bought by Pam. After her arrest, Pam stabbed herself in the neck and wrists with a pen. The police believed it was a sign that she was guilty. With the evidence mounting against her, Pam decided to enter an Alford plea for murdering Louis in June 2019. In August the same year, then 60 years old, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In July 2021, Pam was charged with the first-degree murder of Betsy.
Read More: Where is Pam Hupp Now?