Crime & Justice

Los Angeles jury convicts gold trader of hiring a hitman to kill his wife

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A Los Angeles jury Thursday convicted a Ventura businessman for ordering his wife’s murder three years ago. The case revolves around divorce, greed and gold.

James and Pamela Fayed were headed for a divorce, but their meeting with attorneys in July 2008 wasn’t about that. It was about a federal probe into Goldfinger Inc. – their gold trading company.

After the meeting, Pamela walked alone to her rented SUV in a Century City parking garage. A man in a hood attacked her – and stabbed her to death.

Investigators quickly focused on the husband, James Fayed. Prosecutors said the motive was greed – Fayed thought his wife would cooperate with the feds as they dug into the gold business; that his wife might clean him out in the coming divorce strengthened the theory.

The prosecution argued that Fayed hired a three-man hit team to kill his wife; all three will be tried for murder.

A defense attorney offered an alternate theory: that Fayed’s sister wanted Pamela dead. The jurors didn’t buy it.

They found James Fayed guilty of murder – and added special circumstances that could toughen his sentence. The penalty phase in James Fayed’s murder trial begins today.