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Pamela Phillips, once-prominent socialite, slapped with life sentence in 1996 car bomb killing

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A once-prominent socialite convicted of first-degree murder in the 1996 Tucson car bomb killing of her ex-husband was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Pamela Phillips also was sentenced to 25 years to life for conspiracy to commit murder.

"I'm innocent! I'm innocent!" Phillips said, turning to the gallery to make her statements. "This is a nightmare."

Phillips, 56, couldn't receive the death penalty because she was extradited from Austria, which has a treaty with the U.S. that won't allow anyone to be extradited for prosecution if they face capital punishment.

A Pima County Superior Court jury last month found Phillips guilty of having businessman Gary Triano killed with pipe bomb outside a Tucson-area country club.

Prosecutors said Phillips hired ex-boyfriend Ronald Young to kill Triano to collect on a $2 million life insurance policy so she could maintain her extravagant taste for the good life. She spent years abroad living a lavish lifestyle across Europe.

Authorities said Young was paid $400,000 to carry out the hit. He was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to two life terms in prison.

The state's case against Phillips hinged largely on the purported secret arrangement between Phillips and Young, whom the defendant dated while working as a real estate broker in Aspen, Colorado, after she divorced Triano.

Triano was a developer who made millions investing in Indian bingo halls and slot-machine parlors in Arizona and California before Congress authorized tribes to open full-blown casinos. But after the real estate market declined and he lost control of his gambling interests, Triano went broke.

That's around the time Phillips filed for divorce, prosecutors said.

The couple, who had two children together, separated, but Phillips remained the beneficiary of Triano's insurance policy, paying the premiums herself.

She eventually moved to Aspen and worked in real estate before meeting Young, and prosecutors said the two would later hatch a plan to kill Triano and collect on the policy.

After the killing, Young was on the run from a warrant for his arrest in Colorado on fraud charges while Phillips was sending him money for the hit, eventually adding up to $400,000, prosecutors told jurors.

The investigation into Triano's killing stalled until Young's arrest in 2005 in Florida on the fraud charges. That's when both Phillips and Young became the key suspects in the killing. Authorities say he kept detailed records of his financial transactions with Phillips, including recorded telephone conversations and invoices. Prosecutors said police also found divorce records pertaining to Phillips and Triano in a van rented by Young.

By then, Phillips had received the $2 million insurance payout and had left Aspen for a life overseas.

She was arrested in Austria in 2009 and extradited to Tucson. Her case was delayed after a judge ruled she was mentally unfit to stand trial at the time.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Hugo S LaVia May 22 2014 at 6:51 PM

A rich, white woman convicted in Arizona? Man, she must be REALLY guilty.

Flag Reply +40 rate up
18 replies
propickup May 22 2014 at 7:28 PM

I don't care what agreement we had to get her here she should die. She has no business being able to live her life after taking one. Anyone that kills someone except in a accident should be put to death PERIOD!

Flag Reply +27 rate up
12 replies
lklex May 22 2014 at 10:40 PM

Yet another murdered husband or boyfriend or ex-husband or ex-boyfriend. As Pamela Phillips, Jodi Arias, Amber Portwood, Crystal Mangum and so many other female batterers and/or murderers have demonstrated, domestic violence is not like cervical cancer. Anyone, male or female, can be a perpetrator, and, anyone, male or female, can be a victim. Yet, in violation of the principle of equal protection of the laws, there never has been a federal "Violence Against Men" Act like the federal "Violence Against Women" Act, which in its original incarnation (as championed by then U.S. Senator Joe Biden) callously denied male victims of domestic violence benefits -- including psychological counseling -- afforded female victims. It's time to stop indulging the feminist inspired fiction that only women are victims of domestic violence.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
10 replies
meanjean3489 May 22 2014 at 10:17 PM

She's only 56? The good life must have been hard on her...

Flag Reply +18 rate up
3 replies
prnyl May 22 2014 at 7:14 PM

She looks like Octomom but too bad she cannot be sentenced to death as it would save the taxpayers a lot of money

Flag Reply +15 rate up
4 replies
abenzrite May 22 2014 at 6:53 PM

dumb broad,,

Flag Reply +8 rate up
jktkw May 22 2014 at 7:21 PM

ah greed

Flag Reply +8 rate up
ladkraemer May 22 2014 at 7:13 PM

she should have gone to Brazil... No extradition.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
Linda May 22 2014 at 9:27 PM

Just show that money can't by happiness or a get out of jail free card.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
tony Linda May 23 2014 at 3:24 AM


Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
harleybv tony May 23 2014 at 9:43 AM

ah give him a break, he got most the words right..That may 1have been an honest typo. Or was using spell check because he really is a dummy , and by would have been accepted..But he did forget the s on "show"

Flag +1 rate up
bcat79 tony May 23 2014 at 11:40 AM

Arrgghh to the spelling and grammar Nazi. Just quit.

Flag +2 rate up
Steve's Stuff May 22 2014 at 10:56 PM

Can anyone spell GOLD DIGGER???

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
tony Steve's Stuff May 23 2014 at 3:15 AM

Stevey, What kinda stupid question is that???

Flag Reply 0 rate up
The horror continues Steve's Stuff May 23 2014 at 6:11 AM

It`s all about the power of the taco

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
lightninbob1 The horror continues May 23 2014 at 6:54 AM

yo queiro tacos.

Flag 0 rate up
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