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Feb 19, 2014 8:24 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Defense: Other people car-bombed Tucson businessman

TUCSON - Pamela Phillips' attorneys are blaming other men for the car bomb that killed her ex-husband, Gary Triano.

Gary Triano's car exploded on November 1, 1996, after he finished a game of golf at La Paloma Country Club. Prosecutors are trying to prove Phillips paid her ex-boyfriend, Ronald Young, $400,000 for the assassination. Ronald Young has already been convicted of the bombing.

Nicol Green delivered the opening statements for the prosecution Wednesday.

"[Triano] started not making as much money and became in financial trouble starting in the early 90s," Green said. "All of a sudden, the lifestyle that this defendant insisted on and expected was no longer there."

Phillips continued to pay a $2 million life insurance policy after their divorce.

"The only person who stood to gain any benefit from Gary Triano's death was Pamela Phillips," Green said.

Phillips was arrested in Austria in 2009. Her trial was delayed while she regained competence to stand trial, according to the Associated Press.

Phillips' attorney, Paul Eckerstrom, took more than two hours to deliver his opening statements. He repeatedly apologized for the complexity and thanked jurors for their service.

"There's people out there that are angry with him and have something to gain," Eckerstrom said. "And remember, benefit can be driven by revenge."

Triano was a successful businessman who filed bankruptcy in 1994. He listed $1.3 million in assets and $26.8 million in debts, according to the Associated Press.

"[The defense is] going to try to show evidence that somebody else was responsible for this killing," Green said, "somebody else that didn't have the motive of a $2 million life insurance policy.

Phillips continued to pay her ex-husband's life insurance policy because of her divorce attorney's advice, according to Eckerstrom. Shortly before Triano died, Phillips missed a payment, but it was within a 30-day grace period. Eckerstrom said Phillips would never miss a payment on a policy she intended to collect

Triano borrowed money from people with ties to organized crime, according to Eckerstrom. Eckerstrom specifically referenced a man named Neil McNeice as one of Triano's killers. McNeice died in 2002, according to Eckerstrom.

"These are the people that killed Gary Triano," he said pointing at a board with pictures of 6 people, "Because Neil McNeice was a crazy person on drugs. And he wanted people dead if they didn't pay him.".

Green said she will use accounting experts to prove Phillips paid Young for the bombing.

The prosecution is expected to call more than 30 witnesses from February 19 to March 5. The Defense scheduled more than 100 witnesses from March 5 to March 31.

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