A Pima County Superior Court judge lifted the stay in the Pamela Phillips homicide case Monday, over the objections of her defense attorney, who vowed to continue in his efforts to have the trial judge removed from the case.
Phillips, 54, is accused of hiring a hit man to kill her former husband, Gary Triano, who died in a pipe-bomb explosion in November 1996.
Phillips is scheduled to go to trial in Judge Richard Fields' courtroom in January, but her attorney contends Fields is biased against his client and has spent the last few months trying to have Fields removed from the case.
Three weeks ago, the Arizona Court of Appeals refused to consider whether presiding Superior Court Judge Sarah Simmons erred by keeping Fields on the case. Prosecutors then asked Simmons to lift the stay that had been imposed.
On Monday, Simmons agreed to do so, over the objections of defense attorney Peter Herberg, who has asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider and filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court.
Herberg doesn't want the case to go forward because he continues to investigate Shawn Jensvold, a former prosecutor who launched a for-profit private consulting business while working on the Phillips case. Herberg told Simmons that Jensvold used Phillips' case to advance his business and said the Pima County Attorney's Office is withholding information as to how much Jensvold's superiors knew about the Web-advertised business.
Phillips is scheduled to appear before Fields today. Her trial is scheduled for January.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org