Man is charged with murder in wife's 1994 death

Published: Saturday, Aug. 16 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

Exactly three years after Pamela Mead's death, prosecutors have charged her husband with murder.

Pamela Mead, 29, was found dead in a fishpond behind the couple's home on Aug. 15, 1994."I understand these things take time. We just wanted to know what happened," said Garfield Stokes, Pamela Mead's father. "Knowing the truth will end a lot of depression and a lot of anger."

David E. Mead, 30, faces one count of criminal homicide, a first-degree felony, and one count of solicitation of criminal homicide. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.

Salt Lake police detectives have a warrant for Mead's arrest and are looking for him, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Phil Kirk.

Stokes worries David Mead may have already fled the state.

"He knew the charges were coming," he said. "I just hope they get him, for my family's sake. He's dangerous, and he's mad at us."

At the time of her death, it appeared that Pamela Mead, who was recovering from foot surgery, had fallen into the shallow water and that the impact knocked her out. But her parents became suspicious when they learned that her husband had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy months before her death. So they hired an attorney to investigate, Stokes said.

"We thought we knew him," Stokes said in a telephone interview from his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. "We thought he was a normal guy, but he really had us fooled."

The family failed to win a civil suit against David Mead in February. Eleven of the 12 jurors in the federal case voted to hold him responsible for the death. One dissenting vote resulted in a hung jury.

But that didn't discourage the family from trying again. Before the case went to court again, the sides settled. David Mead gave up 85 percent of the life insurance policy.

The insurance policy is one of many pieces of evidence David Mead will face during the criminal trial, according to the charges.

- Winnetka Walls, who said she was David Mead's mistress before Pamela Mead's death, told prosecutors he had planned to kill his wife, according to the documents. Walls threatened to end the relationship unless he left his wife. He told Wall that Pamela Mead would have a "nasty spill," and it would be the "perfect murder," she told prosecutors.

- Utah State Prison inmate James Hendrix testified in the civil trial that his cousin, David Mead, offered him $30,000 to kill his wife in a staged robbery in June 1994. Hendrix, who was not in prison at the time, declined the offer.

- David Mead built the fishpond four days before the drowning. He tore it up the following day.

- Utah Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey said the death was not accidental. Pamela Mead received a blow to the back of her head. Another medical examiner during the civil trial testified that it had been an accidental death.

- Allstate Life Insurance Company records indicate David Mead took out a $250,000 life insurance policy in December 1993. Inquiries on how to collect it were made the day after the death.

David Mead's lawyer, Wally Bugden, was unavailable for comment Friday night.

Pamela Mead was a "fun" person to be around, Stokes added. She loved to go bowling and traveled to such places as Hawaii and Jamaica. She was a flight attendant with Continental Airlines before she started her own business.

She owned Valley Ground Services, which cleaned jetliners at the Salt Lake International Airport. David Mead worked for the company.

Stokes, who was in the military, was serving in France when Pamela Mead was born. The family later moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. Pamela and David Mead married in April 1991.

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