$3 Million Judgment. Gary Burger represented Margaret Burch, the mother of murder victim Louis Gumpenberger. On Friday, June 17, 2020, they won their wrongful death case and the judge made a three million dollar judgment in Burch’s favor.
The Criminal Case
Pam Hupp was arrested in August 2016 for the murder of Louis Gumpenberger. Hupp tricked Gumpenberger, who had disabilities, into believing she had a way to help him make quick money. The promise of money lured Gumpenberger into Hupp’s home in O’Fallon. Hupp then shot and killed Gumpenberger in her own bedroom after making a 911 call to attempt to corroborate her actions. In the call Hupp lied that Louis jumped out of a van with a knife and attacked her, demanding that she drive him and the driver of the van to the bank to get money belonging to Russ Faria, the victim of another crime by Hupp. She claimed that she shot him in self-defense. Further details on the events surrounding the murder can be found in the petition below.
On June 19, 2019, Hupp took an Alford plea in the St. Charles Circuit Division for her criminal case and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She is currently at the Chillicothe Correctional Center, one of Missouri’s prisons for females.
The life sentence did not bring Burch much peace for the death of her son, and understandably so. Though Hupp is confined in prison, she has not expressed remorse for her crime and, through her Alford plea, has avoided taking any responsibility for committing any criminal acts. Phone recordings between Hupp and her husband depict Hupp gloating about not having to take responsibility for the murder. She also ridiculed the judge during her June 2018 court hearing.
The Wrongful Death Suit
Burch sought reparations through a wrongful death suit against Hupp in an attempt to bring her grandson, Gumpenberger’s son, some peace. Burch had the courage to give testimony in court. It was an emotional scene. It is clear that Burch and her grandson have been through unspeakable pain because of Hupp’s actions. Everyone was deeply moved by the testimony, and the judge offered an apology to Burch for what she has been through. Hupp was invited to appear, but did not do so.
In the end, Burch was awarded three million dollars for the loss of her son. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that she or her grandson will ever see anywhere near that amount from Hupp. The judgment will deter Hupp from profiting off of her criminal actions and, if she ever does, the money will end up in the hands of those who most deserve it.