LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A man who co-owned a gold trading company was sentenced to death Thursday for masterminding his estranged wife’s murder in a Century City parking garage in 2008.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy rejected a defense motion for a new trial for James M. Fayed, 48, along with an automatic motion to reduce the jury’s recommendation of a death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jurors deliberated just over three days before recommending on May 31 that Fayed be executed for the fatal ambush of Pamela Fayed, who was stabbed 13 times as she approached her SUV in a parking garage at Watt Tower in Century City on July 28, 2008.
The couple was going through a divorce at the time of Pamela Fayed’s murder.
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.
Based on a taped confession to a jailhouse informant, 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, 23; 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. Moya worked as a ranch hand for Fayed at his Ventura County ranch.
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