Dateline   |  March 14, 2014

The House on Sumac Drive part 3

Investigators tell Russ he failed a polygraph test and press him to confess.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: and take it, universal orlando .

>>> not long after russ faria found his wife dead, the police took him in for a long night of questions and a polygraph test, the following afternoon, though, said russ , when he saw the machine --

>> honestly, i don't even know if that thing was on or not.

>> narrator: but after it, they told him he failed it miserably, so he must have done it. they said, time for him to confess.

>> the fact of the matter is you did it.

>> no, i did not. i wasn't even there.

>> russ , you were there.

>> no, i found her like that when i came home.

>> narrator: it seemed obvious said the investigators, either russ killed betsy in a sudden blind rage or he was a cold-blood ed killer who planned the crime. which was it? they demanded to know.

>> i did not do this.

>> narrator: russ denied it again and again, dozens of times, but investigators didn't buy it. and much of the reason for that is they were hearing from this woman, pamela hupp, pam met betsy years earlier when they both worked in the insurance industry and she had a lot of things to say about russ . including what sounded like a big, fat motive. money.

>> he makes comments about how much money he'll have after she's gone because she's got, i don't know for sure, because i have never seen the financials, he's got life insurance on her at work, she's got life insurance .

>> pam hupp said that she was with betsy the day she died. they would save money and she would be closer to friends and her chemo treatment. but pam claims betsy was concerned about how russ would react to that idea.

>> and she goes, i'm telling you right now, he's going to get very angry. she said he's tired of moving, he is staying in his house and that's it.

>> so she already approached him with the idea?

>> she was going to approach him when he came home.

>> narrator: could that have set russ off? investigators asked him about that.

>> she never mentioned that to me.

>> she said she wanted to ta had something to share with you when she got home.

>> we never talked about that.

>> narrator: investigators didn't believe that, especially when --

>> he would start playing this game of putting a pillow over her face to see what it would feel like, i don't know if she said, this is what it's going to feel like when you die or whatever and then act like he was kidding. she was very upset.

>> did she sound scared?

>> oh, yeah.

>> narrator: so they took that accusation to russ too.

>> how many times did we practice putting a pillow over her face and suffocating her and telling her this would what it would feel like to die?

>> who did that?

>> why would pam tell the police that betsy said you had done that and that she was scared.

>> she had no reason to believe that.

>> narrator: it wasn't just the pam hupp story that -- though betsy was killed in her living room, investigators found her blood on a light switch in the bedroom and on a pair of russ 's slippers, stashed in a bedroom closet.

>> the fact of the matter is it's a sloppy crime scene , there's blood on your clothes in your residence, in your bedroom.

>> i didn't even go to my bedroom.

>> narrator: and they confronted russ with the horrifying thought that betsy had been stabbed over and over again, many, many times.

>> you absolutely --

>> betsy was stabbed over 25 times, we're still counting. a burglar doesn't do that, russ , a stranger doesn't do that. somebody who loves that person does that. somebody who goes into a blind rage does that.

>> narrator: there was only one option said the investigators, russ was going to have to come clean and confess.

>> there's no one else that has any kind of motive, monetary or crime of passion .

>> i can't tell you what i don't know. i don't know. and i said i can't confess to something i didn't do and i can't give you details for something that i wasn't present for.

>> there was never a focus on anybody else.

>> narrator: it was the day after the murder that russ 's cousin mary heard that russs with being questioned. she had scene russ just a few days later. everyone was fine then.

>> betsy was laughing and happy. she was even saving him a spot on the couch. she was like here, baby, you can sit next know.

>> narrator: russ would not and could not have killed betsy . by the time investigators released russ 48 hours after he was first brought in for questioning, the story was all over local media.

>> reporter: this case has been taking a lot of turns today.

>> it was hard, i mean they showed my picture on the news --

>> they said you were the main suspect?

>> yeah, that's what it appeared. and while i was watching it, my family came in and turned it off. they said you don't need to watch that.

>> narrator: some keep began rethinking the man. maybe those jokes and pranks of his were really rather immature and crude and boorish. betsy 's church friends had spent a lot of time with betsy and russ .

>> many people would describe him as a pig, the things he would say, not respectful. he would do it to everybody, but he was doing it to his wife too.

>> you wouldn't understand, it doesn't matter. you don't say that in a group of other people to your spouse.

>> betsy 's mother who said she was very close to russ , also remembered a few things that now stuck out like a sore thumb.

>> he told a friend of mine's husband, that if he got in a fight with somebody, he would fight to kill.

>> narrator: and betsy 's sisters, they weren't aware that russ ever physically hurt betsy , but when they thought about it, there was rage in that man.

>> i think he had a lot of built up anger.

>> narrator: there was a time when russ chased one of the daughter's boyfriends with a baseball bat ?

>> who chases after a boyfriend with a baseball bat ?

>> yeah. did you see that happen?

>> no.

>> who told you about that?

>> the girls. i think they were very scared about it.

>> narrator: so when officers told the family about all those stab wounds --

>> when they said that, i didn't have any doubt in my mind, i never thought it could be anybody else but russ when they told me that.

>> narrator: that's what the investigators were thinking too. but there were plenty of people in town who thought the idea that russ faria killed his wife