Women murders her husban using a strange method
May 31, 2014
When a Pima County jury found Pamela Phillips guilty of murder and murder conspiracy in the death of her ex-husband on Tuesday, it came after nearly two decades of investigation, frustration, and other twists that kept the notorious bombing death of Gary Triano in the headlines.
Triano died on Nov. 1, 1996, when his car blew up in the parking lot as he was leaving the Westin La Paloma. Police found a pipe bomb in the car, but they didn’t find a suspect.
The case remained a whodunit for more than a decade. Police learned Triano, a well-known developer, had been having financial problems, and Philips had taken out a $2 million insurance policy on him. Even though detectives questioned Phillips after the bombing, they didn’t consider her a suspect.
Investigators wouldn’t get their first big break until 2005, when a tip led them to the man who carried out the bombing, Ronald Young. Police caught up with him in Florida, but he would not be arrested for Triano’s murder until 2008, as investigators built their case.
After finding Young, investigators began connecting the dots. They discovered Young was Phillips’ ex-boyfriend. They raided her home in Aspen, Colorado looking for evidence. Court documents show they uncovered conversations and emails revealing Phillips paid Young $400,000 to carry out the bombing, with the insurance money as the motive.
In 2008, with Young arrested, authorities went after Phillips. She fled the country only to be captured a year later in Austria. In July 2010, authorities returned her to Tucson to stand trial.
The trial nearly didn’t happen. Her defense pushed for a mental health evaluation a few months after she returned to Tucson, but doctors found she was exaggerating signs of mental illness. A judge ruled she was fit to stand trial. However, the same judge ordered another evaluation which found Phillips mentally incompetent. In October 2012, doctors cleared her to stand trial after restoring her competency.
A jury convicted the hitman, Ronald Young, in 2010. He received a life sentence, which was reduced to 25 years to life on appeal.
Triano’s children also took legal action, suing Phillips and Young for wrongful death. A jury awarded them $10 million in 2009.