Pamela Phillips' defense attorney has asked a Pima County Superior Court judge for documents the defense suspects could show a financial link between murder victim Gary Triano's family and a Pima County prosecutor who opened a private consulting firm last year.
Phillips, 54, is charged with first-degree murder in the November 1996 car bombing death of Triano, who died outside the La Paloma Country Club. She is suspected of paying Ronald Young a portion of Triano's $2 million life insurance policy to kill the entrepreneur.
Earlier this month, Assistant Pima County Legal Defender Peter Herberg revealed that one of the prosecutors handling Phillips' case, Shawn Jensvold, created a website last year for a new business called Cold Case Consultants.
As president of the company, Jensvold offers to help family members find out why their loved ones' cases remain unsolved by reviewing police records for avenues to pursue, specifically evidence that could be tested for DNA. In addition to his law degree, Jensvold holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology.
Jensvold noted on the website he and co-counsel William McCollum were named Felony Prosecutors of the Year by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Counsel last year for their successful prosecution of Young, Phillips' co-defendant.
Herberg wants Judge Richard Fields to force the prosecutors to provide him Jensvold's client list, business license and employees' names. He also wants copies of all county e-mails, phone records, time sheets and pay stubs that pertain to Jensvold and his business.
Jensvold said Tuesday he had been merely exploring the possibility of creating a company, but he never had any clients and no money ever exchanged hands. He declined to comment further.
In a written response to Herberg's motion, Jensvold and McCollum said the website was shut down before Herberg raised it as an issue.
Herberg also wants to know if Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall and County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry knew about Jensvold's company in advance, if Jensvold used anything from the Phillips/Young case to conduct his business and if Jensvold's company has ties to Homicide Survivors, because board member Elliot Glicksman successfully sued Phillips on behalf of some of Triano's children.
Although Jensvold is supposed to be a "minister of justice and a disinterested public prosecutor," Herberg said, the prosector started using Phillips "as a personal benefit/for private gain/for profit advertising medium across the globe in April 2010."
"Has Jensvold's business conduct and activities pierced the work product privilege of the State?" Herberg asked in his written motion, which raises a list of potential ethical breaches.
Once he gets his answers, Herberg said, he intends to ask the judge to disqualify either Jensvold or the entire Pima County Attorney's Office from the case.
Herberg made no effort to contact the state about his concerns before filing his motion, something he should have done according to Arizona Supreme Court rules, McCollum wrote in response. McCollum said Herberg filed his motion without any evidence that Jensvold represented anyone outside his duties as a deputy prosecutor, that his "reason and fairness" were issues or that his supervisors knew about the company.
"There is no evidence of profit, and the fact that it is closed supports the only conclusion that no profit is intended," McCollum wrote.
David Berkman, Pima County's chief criminal deputy attorney, said he doesn't believe Herberg's motion will have an impact on the case. He declined to comment on whether Jensvold's actions were inappropriate or if any disciplinary action had been taken against him.
A hearing on Herberg's motion is scheduled for July 18.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org