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Feb 19, 2014 2:55 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucson car-bomb-for-hire trial starts

TUCSON - Opening statements have started in the case against a woman accused of hiring a man to killl her ex-husband using a bomb.

On November 1, 1996, Gary Triano died in a car-bombing at a La Paloma golf course. Prosecutors want to prove Pamela Phillips hired her ex-boyfriend, Ronald Young, to plant the bomb. Young has already been convicted of the crime.

Prosecutor, Nicol Green, told jurors that Phillips is the only person who could benefit from Triano's death. She collected a $2 million life insurance policy after he died.

Defense attorney, Paul Eckerstrom, said Triano lived a dangerous lifestyle and had many enemies. Along with filing for bankruptcy, Triano borrowed money from people with connections to organized crime and never paid them back, according to Eckerstrom. Eckerstrom also said Triano was about to file a $10 million lawsuit.

Green said she will use forensic accountants to prove Phillips paid Young $400,000 to plant the bomb.

Eckerstrom spent much of his opening statement creating doubt that Young was the man who planted the complex, remote-controlled pipe bomb. Eckerstrom said Young did not have the technical skills and there is no evidence he was even in Tucson at the time of the bombing.

Green said Phillips enjoyed the lifestyle her husband provided and filed divorce when he ran out of money.

Phillips was independently wealthy and did not need the insurance money, according to Eckerstrom. He also pointed to a missed payment on the policy that would have cancelled it if there were not a 30-day grace period. Eckerstrom said if Phillips killed Triano for the money, she would have never missed a payment.

The trial is expected to last 6 to 8 weeks.

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