Defense investigator to take stand in Phillips murder trial

2014-03-31T11:04:00Z Defense investigator to take stand in Phillips murder trialPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A much-anticipated witness takes the stand today in the first-degree murder trial of Pamela Phillips, accused of having her ex-husband Gary Triano killed with a car bomb in 1996.

The defense investigator Gene Reedy will resume his testimony this afternoon in the now final stages of the defense's case.

Reedy interviewed many of the defense's witnesses in preparation for the trial and has become a controversial figure throughout the more than month-long prosecution.

Prosecutors earlier implied Reedy coached defense witnesses prior to some interviews in an effort to elicit statements favorable to Phillips.

One defense witness, who was called on because in the years following Triano's death had claimed to posses knowledge of the crime, called Reedy a liar in his testimony earlier this month.

Jeffrey Morris testified that he agreed to help the defense by signing an affidavit, which he now claims was untrue.

Morris said he initially wanted to help Phillips' defense because of his views of crime and punishment having himself spent nearly two decades behind bars in Washington.

But Morris said the statements he made at the time of Triano's death, when he told the FBI he was asked to help collect the money someone was paid to carryout the killing, were false and only made because he faced additional prison time on an unrelated case and sought leverage.

He said the idea to tell federal authorities he knew something about Triano's death came from his then girlfriend who lived in Tucson and knew details of the case that were reported in the media.

Phillips defense picked up Morris' nearly 18-year-old admission, which FBI investigators never acted on, as evidence of an alternative version of Triano's murder.

Defense attorney Paul Eckerstrom attempted to put the responsibility for Triano’s killing directly on Morris during the witness' testimony.

“Isn’t it true that you saw the bombing on November 1st, 1996 because you were there?” Eckerstrom asked.

“That’s not true,” Morris said.

Eckerstrom persisted: “You watched Mr. Triano die.”

“I said I wasn’t there,” Morris said.

Reedy resumes his testimony at 1:30 p.m. today.

The trial is expected to wrap up by midweek.

Read more about Morris' testimony here

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.

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...