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Lincoln County man found guilty of stabbing wife to death

By Susan Weich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Nov. 22--LINCOLN COUNTY --The husband of a woman found stabbed to death in her home nearly two years ago was found guilty Thursday of her murder.

Russell Scott Faria, 43, was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Elizabeth "Betsy" Faria, 42. He was charged a day after her funeral in 2011. Sentencing is set for Dec. 23.

Jurors returned the verdict after deliberating for four hours, following a four-day trial. As Circuit Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer read the verdicts, family members on both sides of the courtroom openly wept.

Afterward, Mary Rogers, sister of Betsy Faria, said she felt conflicted about the verdict.

"We cared for the man," she said. "He was part of our family, so it's hard."

Russell Faria's attorney Joel Schwartz said they planned to appeal the verdict.

"The prosecutor made an argument to the jury based on nothing but speculation and conjecture, and the court prevented the jury from hearing all of the evidence which would have illuminated who actually did this," he said.

Russell Faria told police he discovered his wife dead in the couple's home near Troy on Dec. 27, 2011. Faria was battling liver cancer and had undergone a chemotherapy treatment earlier in the day.

Faria told emergency dispatchers that his wife had committed suicide. But an autopsy revealed she was killed by a combination of injuries that included more than 50 stab wounds. She had been lying on the couch in the living room when the attack happened, police said.

At the time of her death, her husband was the primary beneficiary of her life insurance, estimated to be worth between $300,000 and $400,000, according to court documents.

The Farias had been married for about 12 years, and Betsy Faria had two daughters from a previous relationship. She owned a deejay company and enjoyed playing tennis. She worked with the youth ministry at Morning Star United Methodist Church in Dardenne Prairie and made monthly meals to take to women at a local shelter.

"After almost two years, justice finally has been served," Rogers said. "I just hope people remember all of the positive things about my sister."

___

(c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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