Are Aspen and Arizona pipe-bomb murders connected? How? | AspenTimes.com

Are Aspen and Arizona pipe-bomb murders connected? How?

Joel Stonington
Aspen Times Weekly
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Perhaps the most notorious unsolved crime in modern-day Aspen is the pipe-bomb murder of Steven Grabow that shattered the calm of late 1985.

Grabow, an alleged drug-ring mastermind, had just finished playing a round of tennis at the Aspen Club when a bomb planted beneath the seat of his Jeep exploded in December 1985.

His murder came about a month before he was to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Denver for allegedly heading a drug ring that brought $35 million worth of cocaine to Aspen annually, according to news reports.

Grabow’s murder remains unsolved, as does the pipe-bomb murder of Arizona real estate developer Gary Triano; some in law enforcement believe the two murders are connected.

Ronald Kelly Young, a person of interest in the Triano murder who some also believe was involved in the Grabow case, was apprehended through a piece on the television show “America’s Most Wanted” in 2005. Young served 18 months in federal prison for possessing firearms while a fugitive and was then extradited to Aspen to face felony fraud charges.

Meanwhile, law enforcement attention has also been focused on Pamela Phillips of Aspen. Local police and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on Phillips’ Meadowwood home in September 2006 looking for evidence of a conspiracy between Young and Phillips to kill Triano.

Phillips and Triano divorced in 1993. She then moved to Aspen, where she met Young, police said. 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.

Police also 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,” said Detective Jim Gamber of the Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Department in an 2006 affidavit, “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.”

And that’s not all. Recently, Triano’s children filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona against Phillips, alleging that she paid Young to kill Triano.

Despite all this activity, Phillips has not been charged with any crime related to Triano’s death.

The charges against Young were dismissed in December 2006 after Young had spent two months in the Pitkin County Jail. The judge said District Attorney Gail Nichols’ case was based on hearsay and lacking enough hard evidence to go to trial.

Nichols is appealing that decision. The Colorado Court of Appeals has granted numerous extensions and still has not heard oral arguments on the case.

Even so, it is unclear if Young had anything at all to do with the Grabow murder and with 20 years of dust accumulating on the case. At this point, speculation may have more weight than anything else.

jstonington@aspentimes.com


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