"Bone Deep," | Reviewed by Bill Schwab
Updated: Sep 10
Charles Bosworth, Joel Schwartz, and Russ Faria will discuss “Bone Deep” Thursday, September 15, at 6:30 P.M. in Washington City Council Chambers, Washington City Hall. The event is sponsored by Neighborhood Reads bookstore and the Friends of the Washington Public Library. Following is a review of the true crime book.
On December 27, 2011, Russell Faria parked in his driveway at his Troy, Missouri, residence after his weekly Tuesday-night-out with his friends. When he entered the house, he found his wife Betsy dead. She had been stabbed 55 times and a knife was still lodged in her neck.
Betsy had been terminally ill, had a history of depression, and had previously threatened suicide, so Russ supposed Betsy had taken her own life and called 911 to report the grisly scene.
He did not realize that from that moment on his every move would be scrutinized because the investigators looked over the tragic situation and assumed Russ had killed his wife. Subsequent general presuppositions and conjectures kept the prosecutor from considering that someone else may have slain Betsy. Even though Russ presented clear evidence and several witnesses to affirm that he could not have possibly killed his wife, he was still charged with murder and sentenced to prison.
It soon becomes clear to readers that Pamela Hupp, a friend of Betsy and the last person to see her alive, should have been an obvious suspect. However, assumptions about the women’s friendship blinded investigators to that possibility for months.
Fortunately, Russ found capable people working to clear his name and to bring to justice the actual murderer. Despite the judge and prosecutor who seemed determined to lock up Russ for life, the defense team and a reporter made sure justice was served. The conviction was overturned, and a new trial took place. Russ was found not guilty after spending three years in prison for a crime it seems obvious he could not have committed.
Russ' defense lawyer, Joel Schwartz, and “New York Times” journalist Charles Bosworth Jr. provide readers with an insider’s look at this tragic case and present previously undisclosed evidence. Their story describes what can happen when those sworn to defend the innocent fail at their tasks—for example when a chronic liar keeps changing her story, yet no investigator pursues checking her version of what happened. The story also demonstrates what can happen when that defense attorney and reporter relentlessly pursue justice by focusing the power of national media attention on the case.
This fateful case has been in the news for many years. It was featured on NBC’s “Dateline” six times, was the subject of a 2019 podcast, and a limited television series “The Truth About Pam”, which aired in March 2022. Yet even though the circumstances of the case and its outcome have received nationwide attention, the authors have skillfully created a must-read for readers of true crime.
“Bone Deep” warns that when police, prosecutors, judge, and jury all fail in their duty to protect the innocent, a killer can get away with murder.
About the Authors: Charles Bosworth is a bestselling author of six true crime books. He developed his expertise in writing about crime during 27 years as a daily newspaper reporter, including 20 years with the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch.”