Charles Agar

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September 7, 2006
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Records lead to Aspen suspect

Police claim in a search warrant that recorded conversations between Pamela Phillips and Ronald Young since 1993 are evidence that Phillips paid Young to kill her ex-husband, Gary Lee Triano, in 1996.Local police and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on Phillips' Meadowood home Wednesday. They left with computers, files and personal information they hope will further implicate Phillips in the 10-year-old murder.On Thursday, police released the warrant affidavit they say chronicles the relationship between Phillips and Young. Recorded conversations, police said in the warrant, include threats, blackmail, money drops, a secret romance and evidence of conspiracy in the 1996 slaying.Pamela Phillips and Gary Triano divorced in 1993. She moved to Aspen where she met Young. In 1996 Young allegedly defrauded Phillips, then fled Aspen. A getaway car he rented in Aspen turned up in California with weapons, a map of Tucson, Ariz. (where Triano was slain) and divorce papers for Triano and Phillips. On Nov. 1, 1996, a massive pipe bomb detonated by remote control killed Triano at a Tucson golf club. Young was one of many investigated - Triano had many questionable business dealings that generated a list of suspects. Police did not arrest Young until 10 years later when a feature on "America's Most Wanted" led to his capture.Police found recorded conversations between Phillips and Young in Young's residence, storage unit and hotel room in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Young recorded the conversations himself."Based on the recorded telephone calls, the e-mails and stored documents," Detective Jim Gamber of the Pima County, Ariz. Sheriff's Department wrote in an affidavit released Thursday, "I believe that Ron Young and Pamela Triano were involved in the bombing death of Gary Triano; that Pamela Phillips agreed to pay Ron Young $400,000 over time for his participation."Gamber said Phillips was afraid. In taped conversations she says she worried her large bank withdrawals and cash payments to Young would be detected. The transcript says she worried about what she could "slide by a money manager." When she stopped paying Young and refused to pay interest on the alleged $400,000 fee for killing her ex-husband, Gamber says, the two argued.In a 1998 phone call that the warrant cited, Phillips said she would kill herself rather than disclose their secret and "go to her grave and not say a word."

At one point in the call, Young is infuriated by Phillips' suggestion that he is blackmailing her. In another conversation contained in the warrant, he pressed her for $228,000. Throughout their decade-long communication, Young urges Phillips to pay him."You're gonna be in a women's prison for murder," police quote Young as saying.According to the warrant, Phillips said her bank accounts were the only thing that compromised her.Gamber said he believes Phillips was sending Young cash. Police say that in recorded conversations the two talk about FedEx drops and under-the-radar money withdrawals from ATMs. Phillips allegedly shipped cash under the label of her Internet business, Starbabies.The two, according to the warrant, "stick to their story" that their relationships was never intimate. But a search of Young's Aspen apartment in 1996 turned up notes and letters suggesting an intimate relationship, according to Aspen police records.In e-mails the two conspired to cover their tracks and erase communications.Jim Crowley of the Aspen police led the fraud investigation of Young 10 years ago. With the evidence collected from Young in Florida, the Aspen court granted a search warrant of Phillips' home this week.On Wednesday, police and ATF agents looked for "any and all documents that reveal any contact or relationship between Pamela Phillips and Ronald Young," as well as phone records and documentation of FedEx shipments said to contain cash payments to Young.Police removed two Sony laptop computers, a Dell desktop computer, DVDs and CDs, cell phone bills, bank statements, e-mail printouts, two iPods, binders of documents, a Rolodex, notepads and a journal from under a bed. ATF agents in Arizona are processing all the evidence.

The purpose of the warrant in Phillips' case, ATF agent Tom Mangan said, was to reveal further "inconsistencies" in her stories and gather evidence of her ongoing secret conversations with Young."We believe that there are people in the Roaring Fork Valley who might know Pamela Phillips and Ronald Young or have information that might be pertinent to this homicide investigation," Mangan said. Mangan encourages anyone with any information - "no matter how fragmented" - to contact Crowley at (970) 920-5400 or Gamber at (520) 741-4810.

Oct. 4, 1986 - Pamela Phillips and Gary Lee Triano marry in San Diego. They have two children over the course of their 10-year marriage.November 1993 - Triano and Phillips obtain a divorce decree. The divorce ends with "animosity," according to court documents. Triano threatens Phillips with financial ruin. Phillips claims that Triano had been violent. They contest child custody and the amount of child support. During hearings, Phillips is arrested for throwing water on Triano. From about 1993 on Phillips lives in Aspen, where she meets Ronald Young.1994 - Forced out of a gaming contract, Triano files for bankruptcy with debts of $26.7 million and assets of $1.3 million. Phillips racks up $2 million in real estate deals before her marriage to Triano but moves to Aspen with $200,000.April 1996 - Police search Young's Aspen residence and find cards and letters indicating a "personal relationship of an intimate nature" between Young and Phillips. The findings contradict Phillips' later statement.July/August 1996 - Young flees Aspen.Aug. 7, 1996 - Aspen police issue an arrest warrant on fraud charges for Young's alleged confidence scams. (Phillips was a victim of the alleged scams, but did not press charges.)October 1996 - Police in Yorba Linda, Calif. find a Dodge Caravan that Young rented in Aspen. The car contains divorce paperwork in Triano and Phillips' names, a map of Tucson, Ariz., a Taser and a sawed-off shotgunNov. 1, 1996 - Triano dies in an explosion in Tucson. Investigation centers around the explosive device, his financial situation, his divorce from Phillips and the lawsuits against him. No indictments. On a visit to Aspen shortly before his death, Triano says he feels uneasy, like he was being followed. Seaboard Life Insurance pays $2 million to Phillips' children, with Phillips as beneficiary until they are 18.Nov. 10, 1996 - Phillips denies having an intimate relationship with Young.1996-2003 - Phillips and Young, who is now a fugitive, stay in contact by phone and e-mail.1997 - Phillips earns $2.2 million in proceeds on Triano's life insurance policy.Nov. 21, 2005 - Young is arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Young is booked on weapons charges. Search of his residence, a hotel room and storage unit reveals communications between Young and Phillips. Agents find documents relating to Portrero Partnership, a land investment of Triano and Phillips. Young tells ATF agents that he had a brief affair with Phillips in Aspen.Sept. 6, 2006 - Acting on an investigation by the Pima County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Department, police execute a search of Phillips' Aspen home.- from police reports


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The Aspen Times Updated Sep 8, 2006 08:00AM Published Sep 7, 2006 12:00AM Copyright 2006 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.