- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Woman found guilty in 1996 killing of ex-husband
Question of the Day
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - After spending years abroad living a lavish lifestyle across Europe, a once-prominent socialite has been convicted in the 1996 car bomb killing of her ex-husband in southern Arizona.
Pamela Phillips was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder after less than three days of deliberations that began last week. She faces life in prison at her May 22 sentencing hearing.
Phillips, 56, can’t receive the death penalty because of her extradition from Austria, which has a treaty with the U.S. that won’t allow anyone to be extradited for prosecution if they face capital punishment.
Phillips shook her head after the verdict was read in Pima County Superior Court. Her attorneys said they will file an appeal.
“We have now two people who are going to be serving imprisonment for something they didn’t do,” defense lawyer Paul Eckerstrom told KGUN-TV, referring to Phillips and convicted hit man Ronald Young. “They’re innocent.”
But prosecutor Nicol Green said Phillips‘ head shaking after the verdict “went right along with the reasons she felt that she could do this and get away with it.”
During the trial that began in February, Phillips‘ lawyers told jurors their client had nothing to gain from the death of businessman Gary Triano and that she was the victim of overzealous authorities who failed to follow other leads. They said Phillips was already a successful real estate broker with her own money, and suggested that Triano had numerous other enemies.
But prosecutors described Phillips as a gold digger who hired a former boyfriend to kill Triano to collect on a $2 million life insurance policy so she could maintain her extravagant taste for the good life.
It’s been nearly two decades since Triano died when his car exploded as he was leaving a Tucson-area country club after playing golf. Authorities said Phillips paid Young $400,000 to carry out the hit.
Prosecutors presented a portrait of a woman who grew accustomed to the high life and found herself struggling financially with an easy $2 million way out.
The state’s case against her hinged largely on the purported secret arrangement between Phillips and Young, whom the defendant dated while working as a real estate broker in Aspen, Colo., after she divorced Triano.
Triano was a developer who made millions investing in Indian bingo halls and slot-machine parlors in Arizona and California before Congress authorized tribes to open full-blown casinos. But after the real estate market declined and he lost control of his gambling interests, Triano went broke.
That’s around the time Phillips filed for divorce, prosecutors said.
TWT Video Picks
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world