Socialite Accused of Discussing ‘Hit Man’ Before Husband’s Death
(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Heather Triano is expected to resume her testimony Friday in the 1996 slaying of her father after a friend of her accused stepmother, Pamela Phillips, testified Thursday that she recalled Phillips’ comments about hiring a "hit man."
“She [Phillip] said she would just hire a hit man and have them take him out,” Laura Chapman said of a conversation she and another friend had with Phillips in the years before the deadly explosion in which Gary Triano died.
Phillips, 56, is on trial in the Arizona car-bomb death of her former husband, a commercial real estate developer.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Chapman and her husband, Paul, later saw the smoke billowing from a Tucson, Ariz., country club after the explosion.
“I remember saying to him, ‘Oh, my gosh, she really did it,” Chapman testified.
Chapman said she and her friend considered going to the police that night but decided against it, fearing for their safety. It wasn’t until 2011 -- 15 years after Triano’s death -- that a chance meeting at a restaurant prompted Chapman to discuss the conversation with Heather Triano.
During Thursday’s testimony in a Tucson courtroom, Heather Triano recalled the day her father died.
“It was his surprise birthday party that night…so I was trying to figure out what to get him as a present,” she said.
Prosecutors expect to wrap up their case next week, trying to prove that a $2 million life insurance policy motivated Phillips to have her husband killed.
But then it’s the socialite’s turn, with her defense team planning to call more than 100 witnesses.
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