Boats, mini cannons focus of morning testimony in Pam Phillips' murder trial

2014-02-28T13:58:00Z Boats, mini cannons focus of morning testimony in Pam Phillips' murder trialPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Pamela Phillips on Friday morning made no mention of the defendant.

Instead, prosecutors questioned a business associate and friend of Ronald Young, the man convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Phillip’s ex-husband Gary Triano. The prosecution’s theory of Triano’s death holds that Phillips paid Young to kill her ex-husband so she could reap the benefit of a $2 million life insurance policy.

The witness, George Rombach, was questioned about a boat he once owned that had a collection of miniature cannons.

Rombach said the cannons were not intended to, nor ever did, fire projectiles. Rather, they were used for sound and dramatic effect.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Rick Unklesbay asked whether Young had ever been on the boat and if he and Rombach had discussed the cannons.

Rombach sad Young had and they likely had a brief conversation about the cannons but that the discussion lasted no more than a few minutes and occurred in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Unklesbay asked whether Young had inquired about the effect of closing off both ends of the cannons, to which Romabch recalled saying it would have the effect of making an explosion like a pipe bomb.

Triano was killed in 1996 when a pipe bomb detonated in his car in the parking lot of La Paloma.

Prosecutors seemed intent to show a link to Young’s knowledge of pipe bombs to his later connection with Phillips and Triano’s death.

Defense attorney Paul Eckerstrom noted the brief conversation between Young and the witness occurred more than 30 years ago and that Rombach sold the boat sometime in the early 1990s.

“Did you have anything to do with this bomb?” Eckerstrom asked.

“No sir,” Rombach answered.

The defense has argued that Triano’s death was likely the result of a business investment gone badly, not Phillips’ desire for an insurance windfall.

Phillips’ defense team in opening statements in the trial implicated two previous associates of Triano’s as the potential culprits. Both of the men have died in the years since Triano’s killing.

Testimony in the trial continues Friday afternoon and again Tuesday morning in Pima County Superior Court.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

News and events of Pima County's courthouses.

Deals, offers & events

View more...