Pamela Phillips had her ex-husband killed in 1996 to collect on a $2 million insurance policy so she could maintain the lavish lifestyle she enjoyed while married, a prosecutor told jurors today in opening statements for her first-degree murder trial in a Tucson courtroom.
“When they married, the defendant became accustomed to that lifestyle — she expected it,” said Nicol Green, deputy Pima County attorney, said in her opening statement today in Pima County Superior Court.
Gary Triano, a Tucson businessman, died when his car exploded from a pipe bomb on Nov. 1, 1996, in the parking lot of the La Paloma Country Club. Ronald Young was convicted in 2010 in the killing prosecutors contend was orchestrated by Phillips.
Her defense attorney, Paul Eckerstrom, said his client had no need for Triano’s money. He says Phillips was was independently wealthy at the time of their contentious divorce in 1993 and when Triano was killed.
“She wasn’t hurting for money as the state is claiming,” Eckerstrom said, who is to address the jury later today.
Eckerstrom said many people had motive to kill Triano. That's because several people were owed millions of dollars from investments and business ventures after he filed for bankruptcy in the late 1980s.
“Gary Triano lived on the edge — the financial edge especially,” Eckerstrom said.
The case is expected to last for six weeks.
Judge Richard Fields is presiding over the case.