Oxygen's newest true crime series Dying to Belong premieres Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. ET, and it starts with quite the complicated case. The first episode will explore the murder of Gary Triano, and how his ex-wife Pam Phillips became a suspect. According to CBS News, she was eventually convicted — a whopping 18 years later — of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. So, is Pam Phillips still in prison in 2018?
CBS News reported that Phillips got a life sentence without the possibility of parole, so she's definitely still in prison. But how she got there is an incredibly complicated story. You have to rewind to the beginning. Per CBS, Phillips and Triano married in 1986. He was on top of the world financially, and she quit her real estate job to become what the media would commonly call her from then on — a socialite, per Oxygen. Things started to unravel around 1993 when Triano's massive debts started to pile up, CBS News reported. The pair eventually separated and divorced, with Phillips moving away from Arizona to Aspen, Colorado, according to another CBS News article.
Then, in 1996, Triano was tragically murdered when a bomb was placed in his car. The nature of the crime had authorities thinking it was a mob hit, which pretty much left the investigation at a standstill, per CBS. It wasn't until a decade later that a break in the case came. Authorities arrested a man named Ron Young on separate charges, but found records that linked him to Phillips.
The two had met in Aspen and he'd become her business advisor, according to an interview Phillips gave to CBS. But, per CBS, Phillips had paid him large sums of money in the '90s — so suddenly the police's new theory became that Phillips allegedly paid Young to murder her husband so she could collect the $2 million insurance policy.
CBS News reported that both Young and Phillips were charged with conspiracy and murder in 2008. Young was convicted two years later and ordered to serve two life sentences, per ABC News. But Phillips' case would drag on for years.
Although authorities tried to track her down starting in 2008, Fox News reports that she wasn't arrested until 2009, when she'd finally been found in Austria. From there, she wasn't extradited to the U.S. until 2010, per CBS News. Prosecutors hit another snag in 2011 when she was ruled "mentally incompetent" to stand trial at the time, per AZ Central. (Doctors did believe she would be competent to do so in due time.) In 2012, she was finally declared able to stand trial, per the Arizona Daily Star.
Then it would be a further two years before her conviction and sentencing in 2014, according to Fox News. CBS News reported that Phillips has always claimed her innocence, even telling the court after her conviction, "I just want everyone to know that I am innocent. I am innocent. I am innocent."
Four years later, in 2018, Phillips is still serving her life sentence. Arizona inmate records show she's being held at the Arizona Department of Corrections — Perryville. She's now 60. The inmate records show that Young is still serving his life sentence as well, in a Tucson prison at the age of 76. Their case will be explored in the Aug. 19 episode of Dying to Belong, where the whole messy story will be told in full on Oxygen.