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Jury finds Pamela Phillips guilty in murder-for-hire trial

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Jury finds Pamela Phillips guilty in murder-for-hire trial

By Cory Marshall, Ina Ronquillo, Valerie Cavazos. CREATED Apr 8, 2014 - UPDATED: Apr 8, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - After 13 cumulative hours of deliberation and seven weeks of testimony, the jury reached a decision in the Pamela Phillips murder-for-hire trial.

As heard in the courtroom from the lead juror, "we find the defendant Pamela Anne Phillips guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder as alleged in count one of the indictment."

The lead juror continued "do find the defendant Pamela Anne Phillips guilty of first-degree murder as alleged in count two of the indictment."

Seconds after she heard the verdict, Phillips shook her head and looked directly into the camera. This is something that has become trademark for Phillips since the start of the trial.

This is something the prosecution picked up on too.

"I think that her mannerisms in trial went right along with the reasons she felts that she could do this and get away with it," said prosecutor Nicol Green.

Nearly 18 years after Tucson businessman Gary Triano's murder, prosecutors firmly believe justice has been served. Triano's family share that sentiment.

"They were just really relieved. They were very grateful to the jury's hard work. They felt all along that this was going to be the outcome," said Rick Unklesbay, also with the prosecution.

"Certainly the evidence that was presented showed her to be a cold and calculating person. I would assume that's what the jury thought as well," Unklesbay continued.

Phillips' attorneys say they will file an appeal immediately,  believing in not only Phillips' innocence, but convicted hit-man Ronald young's innocence too.

Defense lawyer Paul Eckerstrom told 9OYS "And we have now two people who are going to be serving imprisonment for something they didn't do."

"After 8 weeks of trial and 2 years of collecting this evidence, you still think Ron Young and Pamela Phillips are innocent," asked reporter Cory Marshall.

"They're innocent," Eckerstrom contended.

"We're still hopeful -- hopeful in the future with regard to the appeals. There's a lot here," Defense attorney Alicia Cata said.

The conspiracy to commit first-degree murder holds a mandatory 25 years to life while the first-degree murder conviction holds either a 25 years to life or natural life sentence.

Phillips will not receive the death penalty because of her extradition from Austria. The country's extradition treaty with the U-S says it will not return anyone for prosecution who could receive the death penalty.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 22.

One of the lead investigators on the case talked with KGUN9 Reporter Valerie Cavazos after the verdict.

Once labeled a cold case, James Gamber said it wasn't for lack of evidence. There were layers of it -- emails, phone calls, financial records.

"Ron Young kept every piece of evidence we needed," said Gamber.

Gamber, a lead investigator, painstakingly sifted through the evidence for year, while methodically connecting the dots to Young's partner in crime, now convicted, Pamela Phillips.

During the trial, it was the money trail that Gamber believes helped convince the jury as it did in the Young trial.

"Once everything was laid out and they could go through the emails, financial records, the phone calls and look at the fed ex records and they can see the trail of money and conversations about the murder, they were convinced."

But the bow on the box, Gamber believes, was this, "Pretty much the phone call that said you'll be going to a woman's prison for murder."

Phillips reply, "so will you."