Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz bring you the mesmerizing and chilling account of the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. As the title mentions, this book goes bone deep and not just into the murder of Elizabeth “Betsy” Kay Faria.
Bone Deep concentrates on the legal aspects of the wrongful conviction of Russell “Russ” Scott Faria. It shows how blatantly simple it is for law enforcement to conduct a sloppy investigation and overlook clues and a suspect sitting right in front of them.
The book also shows you how a power-hungry prosecutor and a careless judge can twist a case around, make evidence vanish, and allow a man to be sentenced to life imprisonment. All the while, they knew that not all the facts were disclosed, that not every piece of evidence was presented in court, and that no sufficient investigation had been conducted to find alternative suspects or satisfactory explanations for those facts that were contradicted by forensic sciences.
Russ Faria found his wife Elizabeth “Betsy” Kay Faria dead on December 27, 2011 in their home in Troy, Missouri. He had been to game night with friends as was his usual Tuesday evening routine. Returning home, he finds Betsy on the livingroom floor. Her body contorted, stiff, in a pool of almost black blood, with a knife lodged in her neck.
Was this a suicide? Betsy had breast cancer. In October, they found out that the cancer had spread to her liver. It would be fatal. She had bouts of depression and had mentioned suicide before. However, what Russ thought that he saw at first, suicide, turned out to be murder. Betsy suffered more than 50 knife wounds in an order that she could not possibly have done herself.
Despite the fact that the first officers on the scene correctly suspected homicide and got the right feedback from EMT concerning Betsy’s condition, law enforcement’s sole focus remained on Russ. The first responders, and you will meet them in the book, clearly stated that Betsy had been dead for hours before she was found by Russ.
Points of Interest
We will learn where blood was and was not detected, how initial results were only preliminary and nobody had asked for further testing, how over 100 crime scene photographs vanished until anonymously delivered to the defense, and how some people were dragged into this case and were almost made into accessories by a Prosecuting Attorney who knew that she was wrong. Yet, her conscious did not stop her.
We witness Schwartz’ legal experience when he files a Mooney motion. A few days later, Then-Judge Mennemeyer recused herself without explanation, so for Russ’ second trial, St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven R. Ohmer presided. Then Schwartz takes the gamble of his career: Russ would waive his right to a trial by a jury of his peers in favour of a bench trial. This meant no jury. Only Judge Ohmer would hear the evidence and then return his verdict.
The authors clearly described what happened in each trial and we as readers see what a difference it makes when an experienced judge presides, who is not afraid to ask the difficult questions, and who is fair to both parties.
According to themselves, then-Prosecuting Attorney Leah Askey, now known as Leah Wommack Chaney, and then-Circuit Judge Christina C. Kunza Mennemeyer, they didn’t do anything wrong. They were ethical and professional. Judge for yourself. Chaney is now in private practice. The Supreme Court of Missouri suspended judge Christina Kunza Mennemeyer from office, without pay, for a period of six months beginning February 1, 2017. She is now in private practice too.
The list of good people to thank is long as you will see in the book. However, as this book clearly shows what due process, equality of arms, and the right to a fair trial actually means, we need to highlight the one who now has the power of the government.
I’d like to thank Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood for reopening the Betsy Faria murder investigation, for charging the right person with her murder, for opening an investigation into possible criminal misconduct by police and prosecutors involved in the Russ Faria trials, and for protecting the evidence in the case. I quote “the previous sheriff’s department prepared an order for the destruction of all the evidence that, fortunately, was not carried out. Wood said he had the St. Charles Police keep the evidence to protect it.”
As I read an advance reader’s edition, I cannot tell you what the ultimate book form will bring us. The edition that I had still had editorial errors (missing spaces, typos, etc.) and there was no table of contents, index, bibliography, sources, references, foot notes, or maps/pictures of the Faria’s home layout, etc.
I know that the final version of this book will include 16 pages with full colour photographs and that it comes out Febr. 22, 2022.
If you are interested in justice, in criminal profiling, in trial procedures, the dynamics between the judge, the defense, and the prosecution, this book is for you. Yes, it follows the trials but in plain English. Some parts may be difficult but they are in the vast minority.
The really difficult parts concern trying to wrap your mind around logic where there is none, trying to make sense out of statements that seem to come out of nowhere but they do suddenly become key pieces, and the history of a woman and what she’d do for money.
Highly recommended reading!