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Jury Recommends Death Penalty In Century City Murder-For-Hire Case

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Jurors recommended the death penalty Tuesday for a gold-trading company co-owner who masterminded the murder of his estranged wife in a Century City parking garage.

James Fayed, 48, will be sentenced Sept. 22. He was convicted May 19 of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the July 28, 2008, ambush attack on Pamela Fayed, who was stabbed 13 times as she approached her SUV in a parking garage at Watt tower in Century City.

The eight-man, four-woman jury also found true the special-circumstance allegations of murder while lying in wait and murder for financial gain, which made Fayed eligible for the death penalty.

The Fayeds were in the midst of a bitter divorce. The killing occurred just after the two met with their criminal attorneys as a result of a federal investigation into the couple’s gold-trading business.

Prosecutors contended that Fayed contracted the hit on his estranged wife because he believed the mother of two would cooperate with federal investigators and because she could have ended up with half of the couple’s marital assets in a divorce.

Three other men charged in Pamela Fayed’s killing are awaiting trial separately.

The alleged killer, Steven Vicente Simmons, 22; the alleged getaway driver, Jose Luis Moya, 51; and the alleged lookout, Gabriel Jay Marquez, 46; each face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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