Crime Trackers

Apr 8, 2014 9:02 PM by Lupita Murillo

Phillips guilty of killing ex-husband Gary Triano

TUCSON - A former socialite was found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. It took a jury three days to reach a unanimous decision to convict Pamela Phillips.

The Prosecution painted Phillips as a gold digger who wanted her ex-husband Gary Triano dead so she could collect his $2-million life insurance.

The defense says she had nothing to gain from Triano's death. They named other people who were responsible for the bombing death of Triano in 1996.

Triano's family has been waiting 17 years to hear the words, "We the jury find Pamela Phillips guilty....". Inside the courtroom family members and friends hugged each other and also shed some tears.

James Gamber, was the detective on the case, and spent 17 years of his career investigating it. Gamber has since retired. He tells News 4 Tucson, he expected a guilty verdict. "I worked the case, I trusted the people I worked with, and it was a good feeling to bring this family some justice."

The prosecution team also says the jury did the right thing. Rick Unklesbay says, "The evidence was very compelling. Miss Phillips had the motive, she benefited from this, the tape recordings between the two defendants, (Ronald Young was convicted in 2010) were very telling of their motive and desires. "

Nicole Green agrees, she says, "I think the jury did the right thing. They focused on the evidence; they paid attention, and held Pamela Phillips responsible for what she did."

Keith St. John, an investigator with the Pima County Attorney's office was also instrumental in the case. When Gamber retired from the Pima County Sheriff's Department, St. John took over.

Phillips defense team is disappointed with the verdict. Alicia Cata says, "We firmly believe in her innocence and still do. Just because there is a guilty verdict doesn't mean that you are."

Paul Eckerstrom says they are firmly convinced, "especially during their investigation that Pam Phillips and Ronald Young are innocent, and are in prison for a crime they didn't commit." He adds, he will appeal the case and hopefully the two will receive new trials.

The Triano family declined to comment at this time. A friend close to them says this seven week trial has taken a toll on them.

Pamela Phillips will be sentenced on May 22nd. She is facing life in prison.

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