Did Socialite Hire Hitman To Kill Ex-Husband?
Did a prominent socialite pay a hitman to kill her ex-husband? That's what jurors are trying to decide as they listen to the recorded voice of Pamela Phillips at her murder trial.
In a taped conversation, she was speaking to hitman Ron Young—a man who was convicted of having blown away her ex-husband, real estate millionaire Gary Triano, with a car bomb.
Pamela said, "It looks like the money is gone. I'm not able to send you any more money. I am just aggravated. Would you just leave me alone? Just leave me alone!"
Young asked, "I’m bothering you?"
Pamela replied, "Right now you are...I've got to go."
Young said, "Well, you bothered me for, for some help, so you could get rich."
She then said, "Will you leave me alone? Goodbye!"
Legal analyist Royal Oakes told INSIDE EDITION, "The recorded phone calls are huge for the prosecution. She sounds so guilty, and although she doesn't confess, she doesn't deny her guilt."
It happened at Tucson’s exclusive La Paloma Country Club in 1996. Pamela's ex-husband had just finished a round of golf when he got into his car and it blew up, killing him.
Pamela Philips collected on her ex's $2 million life insurance policy.
The hitman, Ron Young, who was dating Pamela at the time, was convicted for planting the pipe bomb, and is serving 25 years in jail.
The prosecution claims Pamela agreed to pay her boyfriend $400,000 for the hit, but that her high-living lifestyle in swanky Aspen, Colorado, and across Europe drained her finances before she could pay up in full.
Little could Pamela have suspected that before the hitman was caught, he would start recording their phone conversations.
In a conversation, she said, "I mean, you know, we need to talk about this."
Her voice is clearly strained on the recordings and she's clearly eager to get off the phone.
Pamela's defense began last week, in Tucson, with her lawyers arguing that Gary Triano had many enemies. He was being sued in more than 50 civil cases.
Oakes said, "The victim can be seen as a bad guy. He had a lot of enemies. It is a classic defense strategy—make the jury hate the victim."
A distinguished-looking gentleman named Edward Kinnear was called to the stand as a defense witness. He's the father of Oscar-nominated actor Greg Kinnear. The 80-year-old retired U.S. diplomat was at the country club that day, and recalled seeing a car parked in an unusual place prior to the explosion with someone behind the wheel who apparently does not fit the convicted killer's description.
Kinnear said on the stand, "He looked to be about, I’m guessing now, of course, 35 years of age."
A lawyer asked, "Hispanic?"
Kinnear replied, "Might have been."
The recorded phone calls don't directly implicate Pamela Phillips in the murder, but they don't exactly help her case, either.
In one conversation Young said, "When you sit in a women's prison for murder, you know, you are going to be really sad."
She replied, "I'm going to be back at four!"
Young said, "No, you're going to be in prison for murder."