A Salt Lake man charged with drowning his wife in a backyard fishpond was ordered to stand trial on murder and conspiracy charges Friday after a surprise witness who appeared at his March preliminary hearing was allowed to testify.
David Mead, 31, was bound over for trial on first-degree felony murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges in the Aug. 15, 1994, death of his wife, Pamela Stokes Mead.Stormy Simon, a former girlfriend of Mead's, testified Friday that he told her in a telephone conversation that he planned to get rid of his wife and collect $250,000 in insurance money.
He later came to her office and told her he was involved in a civil lawsuit spurred by his wife's death, warning her not to talk to investigators who were looking for her, Simon testified.
Simon said David Mead's appearance frightened her and she felt intimidated by his attitude.
The victim's death was originally ruled an accident. Investigators thought Pamela Mead, hobbled by recent foot surgery, slipped and fell into the shallow pond, hit her head on a rock and drowned.
Her family sued David Mead to block his collecting on his wife's $250,000 insurance policy. The jury was unable to reach a decision in the civil suit but the two sides reached a settlement.
Prosecutors watched the civil proceedings closely and filed the criminal charges last August.
In the first day of David Mead's preliminary hearing in March, his cousin, James Hendrix, testified he was offered cash and cocaine to murder Pamela Mead and make it look like there was a burglary.
A television news story, including an interview with Pamela Mead's mother, Sinnie Stokes, aired after the first day of the hearing and was seen by Simon. She called prosecutors the next morning and volunteered the information that she was the long-sought girlfriend identified by David Mead as "Stormy" and volunteered to testify.