Pamela Phillips, Arizona Socialite, Guilty in Husband's Car Bombing

Image: Pamela Phillips, Arizona Socialite, Guilty in Husband's Car Bombing

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 08:47 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Arizona socialite Pamela Anne Phillips was found guilty Tuesday in a murder-for-hire car bombing plot that led to the death of her Tucson businessman husband Gary Triano nearly 18 years ago.

Jurors deliberated for 13 hours before returning a conspiracy to commit first degree murder guilty verdict against Phillips, according to KGUN-TV.

Prosecutor Rick Unklesbay told the television station that Triano's family was "relieved" by the verdict that took nearly two decades to come.

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"They were very grateful to the jury's hard work," said Unklesbay. "They felt all along that this was going to be the outcome. Certainly the evidence that was presented showed her to be a cold and calculating person. I would assume that's what the jury thought as well."

KOLD-TV reported that Triano died when a bomb when off in his car parked at the La Paloma Resort in 1996. The television station wrote that Phillips received more than $2 million from a life insurance policy as trustee with their two children as beneficiaries.

Investigators charged that Phillips promised Ronald Young $400,000 to kill Triano, according to KOLD-TV. Young, 71, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder earlier and is serving 25 years to life in prison.

Phillips, who had moved to Austria, was extradited back to the United States in 2010.

"I worked the case, I trusted the people I worked with, and it was a good feeling to bring this family some justice," James Gamber, a police detective who spent 17 years investigating the case before retiring, told KVOA-TV.

KVOA-TV reported that Phillips defense team is vowing to appeal the verdict.

"We firmly believe in her innocence and still do," defense attorney Alicia Cata told KVOA-TV. "Just because there is a guilty verdict doesn't mean that you are."

Paul Eckerstrom, another attorney for Phillips, said he hopes to win a new trial for his client.

"Pam Phillips and Ronald Young are innocent, and are in prison for a crime they didn't commit," said Eckerstrom.

KVOA-TV reported that Phillips will be sentenced on May 22.

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