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Defense rests in week seven of Phillips' trial

Pima County Attorney's Office Det. Keith St. John takes the stand during day 26 of the Pamela Phillips trial.

Defense rests in week seven of Phillips' trial

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Apr 1, 2014

TUCSON(KGUN9-TV) -Seventeen-years since Tucson businessman Gary Triano's death and seven weeks since the start of his ex-wife's trial, a verdict could be near in the Pamela Phillips murder-for-hire trial. Tuesday, on the eve of closing arguments, the defense rests their case. 

During day 26 of the trial, Phillips' attorney's alleged investigators botched the Triano murder investigation, dismissing leads because they had already zeroed in on Phillips.
 
The defense once again focused on former convict, Jeffrey Morris. Morris testified two-weeks ago on behalf of the defense. Tuesday, the defense painted Morris as an informant, who was essentially dismissed by investigators early on in the Triano murder investigation and suggested  investigators should have looked into Morris' story.
 
Eluding to a flawed investigation, Phillips' attorney's also questioned Det. Keith St. John on why he named Morris as an informant while interviewing other persons of interest. St. John headed the Triano murder investigation for the Pima County Sheriff's Department and is currently a detective with the Pima County Attorney's Office.
 
"I'm not sure if it's common practice or not. If i thought there was some danger to anybody involved we wouldn't have given the name but I did in this case," St. John said.

In 1997, Morris told federal agents he had information about Triano's murder, which he later admitted was an attempt to "cut a deal" for himself in connection with an unrelated case. Then, in 2012, he signed an affidavit repeating the same self-proclaimed lie he told investigator. Morris said he signed the affidavit because the defense's lead investigator, Gene Reedy, told him an "innocent woman is charged with the crime" and "really needs his help."

The defense also depicted convicted hit-man Ronald Young as a con-man,  painting Phillips as a victim of blackmail by Young, further alleging the money transferred from Phillips to Young was a result of extortion.
 
"So, [con-men] are always looking to manipulate what the victim is thinking what the victim has though [and] what is going on," Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent James Wedick told the court, Tuesday.

"When you execute a warrant at a con-man's place, you can generally spend the whole day there [or] longer being able to pull out the documents [and] describe the documents in an orderly fashion just so you can log everything correctly and be able to report the executed search back to the judge," Wedick, who was hired by the defense as a security consultant, continued.

Previous testimony on behalf of the prosecution showed boxes of evidence seized from Young as part of the investigation.

Closing arguments begin Wednesday.