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Jury selected in car bomb murder trial

Craig Smith

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Jury selected in car bomb murder trial

By Craig Smith. CREATED Feb 18, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A jury's been selected to decide if Pamela Phillips is guilty of first degree murder.

The pool of potential jurors started with more than 75. Judge Richard Fields asked one of the key questions for a high publicity case early on.  Do you already know about this case? Eighteen said yes.  The judge excused nine of them.
   
A murder case that features a car bomb, is the sort of a case that people remember even if the murder was 17 years ago.
   
The bomb that killed businessman Gary Triano rocked the quiet of La Paloma Country Club.
     
He was an aggressive businessman with big debts and a big potential to build enemies. That, and the choice of a car bomb to kill him, led to whispers he'd crossed the mob, but years later suspicion focused on his ex wife Pamela Phillips and the two million dollar insurance policy she held on Triano.
   
About ten years after the murder, investigators named Phillips as a suspect.
   
But she wasn't under arrest until five years ago when authorities arrested her in Austria and brought her back to trial.
   
Four years ago, prosecutors got a life sentence for Ronald Young.  He had dated Phillips. Prosecutors convinced a jury, Phillips promised him 400 thousand dollars to kill Triano.  But Phillips attorney warned potential jurors Young's conviction in his trial, is not evidence against Phillips.

For potential jurors who knew of the case, the real question was, can they put aside what they know and decide guilt or innocence on just what they hear in court.  The judge spoke with those potential jurors privately so it's not clear why he excluded some and not others.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press