Tucson woman found guilty of ex-husband's car bomb murder - Tucson News Now

Tucson woman found guilty of ex-husband's car bomb murder

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Pamela Phillips reacts to the verdict. Pamela Phillips reacts to the verdict.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A Tucson jury has found Pamela Phillips guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder in the 1996 death of her ex-husband.

Gary Triano died when his car exploded in November of 1996.

As the verdict was read, Phillips frowned, looked a bit confused and smiled at times.

People in the gallery were heard to begin crying. Phillips turned around to talk to her supporters from her seat.

She hugged her attorneys before deputies handcuffed her hands behind her back and led her out of the courtroom.

Prosecutors say Phillips hired a former boyfriend to carry out the bombing in order to collect on a $2 million life insurance policy.

The ex-boyfriend, Ronald Young, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to two life terms.

Lawyers for Phillips argued their client had nothing to gain from the death of Triano, and that she was a successful real estate broker.

They told the jury that there's evidence others killed Triano.

They said neither Phillips nor Young was guilty of the murder.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall commented after the Phillips verdict was read, saying she was very pleased that justice had been served.

The attorneys on the case commented on the verdicts as well.

"Very disappointed. I'm firmly convinced--I've always been firmly convinced, but especially after we did our investigation, that Pamela Phillips is innocent as well as Ronald Young. And we have now two people who are going to be serving in prison for something they didn't do," said defense attorney Paul Eckerstrom.

"We absolutely firmly believed in her innocence and we still do. I think just because there's a verdict like this...obviously history has born that out...it doesn't mean that just because you're found guilty, that you are," said defense attorney Alicia Cata.

"We had an amazing case and I still believe in that case. I think, I still believe we know who actually did this, that Pam and Ron were convicted on just insinuation and innuendo along, and that this is, yeah, this is very very tragic, very very tragic for Pam," Cata continued.

Prosecutor Nicol Green said she and fellow prosecutor Rick Unklesbay "were relieved the jury did the right thing."

"When you looked at the evidence that we presented, it was pretty compelling. The tape recordings between the two defendants, Ms Phillips statement to her friends a couple of years before the murder that it would easy to do--that is take out Gary--I think all of that had a really compelling effect on the jury," Unklesbay said.

Asked to characterize Phillips, Unklesbay said, "Certainly the evidence that was presented showed her, I think, to be a cold and calculating person. And I assume that's what the jury thought as well."

"Pamela Phillips had the motive. She's the only one that benefited. The conversation between her and Ronald young were very clear--even though they we're making attempts at coding and talking in code. At the end of the day, the evidence was absolutely convincing that those two parties were responsible for the death of Gary Triano, and no one else," Green said.

Phillips' trial started in February and lasted about six weeks.

The judge congratulated both sides, saying they could be proud of their work.

The defense attorneys say they will appeal as soon as possible.

Phillips will be sentenced to 25-years-to-life on the conspiracy conviction.

The judge will decide whether she gets 25-years-to-life or natural life for murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 22.

Barbara Grijalva can be followed on Twitter at @BGrijalvaKOLD.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

 

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