The Story and Timeline of “The Thing About Pam”


Poster for “The Thing About Pam” by NBC

Kyle Goodbar, Reporter

“The Thing About Pam” is a crime drama that premiered on March 8, 2022. The true crime drama stars Renee Zellweger who plays the real life murderer of the tale. It is a true story about the life of Pamela (Pam) Hupp and the suspicious deaths that keep happening around her. The story behind the show is shocking with many twists and turns. The real life events that take place sound like fiction. Here is the story of the tragic string of events.

On Dec. 27, 2011, in Troy, Missouri, Russell (Russ) Faria found his beloved wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Faria stabbed to death in their home. After calling the police, his life would change. 

On Jan. 4, 2012, Russ was arrested for the murder of his wife. He repeatedly denied killing his wife, but the police refused to listen to him, according to He even had a solid alibi. He was out with friends and was found on surveillance footage at a local Arby’s. He had the receipt with a time and date on it, thus proving it was impossible for him to be at his home during the time of the murder. Even if he was able to get home, he would only have nine minutes to stab his wife fifty-five times, clean himself up, and call the police. 

During his trial, Pam Hupp, Betsy’s friend, testified that Russ was an evil man who abused his wife according to After his trial concluded on Nov. 21, 2013 Russell Faria was found guilty of the brutal murder of his wife and was sentetced to spend the rest of his life in prison (

Many people believed Russ was innocent. After all, he had an alibi during the murder. The public pressured the police to question the last person to see Betsy alive, her best friend, Pamela Hupp. Eventually, on Feb. 24, 2015, Russ was granted a retrial and a new light for justice began shining. 

During the investigation before Russ’ first trial, it was thought that Russ had murdered Betsy in order to gain her life insurance policy money. However, on Dec. 23, 2011, just four days before Betsy’s murder, she made Pam Hupp the sole beneficiary of her life insurance money. However, Russ did not know this and prosecutor Leah Chaney still claimed that he had killed her to gain access to the money according to 

The retrial began on Nov. 2, 2015. During the retrial, the issue with the life insurance came back up, shifting suspicion towards Pam. It was even revealed that the jury in Russ’ trial did not get to hear about the beneficiary change from Russ to Pam. It also revealed that several photographs of the crime scene were not shown to the court. These photographs contradicted the theory of Russ being the murderer.

 Pam Hupp tried her best to defend herself during the trial. She even made the claim that she and Betsy were secret lovers. However, friends of Pam claimed that she was “one of the most homophobic people that they ever met.” She continued to point the finger at Russ, claiming that he was an abusive husband, but the courtroom did not buy it. 

After all of the new evidence was presented, Russ was found not guilty on all charges on Nov. 6 2015. Russ proceeded to sue the Lincoln County Prosecutor and Police for his wrongful conviction on July 19, 2016 (

Just when you think that the story is over, yet another twist was thrown into the mix. A 911 call rang out from Pam Hupp’s home on Aug. 16, 2016. She claimed she had shot a man in self defense and claimed the man had come there to kill her at Russ Faria’s order.

The man was revealed to be Louis Gumpenberger, who became mentally and physically disabled after a drunken car crash in 2005. A note was found on him that was supposedly written by Russ. The note instructed Gumbenberger to kill Pam and retrieve the money that she received from Betsy Faria’s life insurance. However, it was proven that Pam was the one who had written that note to shift suspicion back onto Russ. 

Pam had lured the man into her home, asking him to “reenact a 911 phone call” in exchange for money. However, Pam shot the man to death on the call in order to make it look like self defense. She then planted the note onto the body (

On Aug. 23, 2016 Pam Hupp was charged in Louis Gumpenberger’s murder. The police then looked into the strange death of Pam’s mother, Shirley Neumann, who had “fallen” off the balcony at her home in 2013. Pam was the last person to see her mother alive, causing suspicions to arise again after all these years. However, she has currently not be charged for her mother’s murder.

 On June 19, 2019, Pam Hupp entered an Alford Plea, in which she admitted the prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her while still maintaining her innocence. On Aug. 12, 2019, Pam was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, it was not until last year on July 12, 2021 where Pam was finally charged with Betsy Faria’s murder as well (

That is the sick and twisted case of Pam Hupp. If you want to learn even more about this case, tune in on Tuesdays at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on NBC network, or stream it on Peacock, to watch as Renee Zellweger plays murderer Pam Hupp and all of the tragic events that follow.