The Justice Files: The fishpond murder Pt. 3

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It was a relationship that was probably meant to be.

That’s what Stormy Simon believed happened when she met David Mead on three separate occasions in 1992.

At the time Mead was married but was seeing other woman unbeknowst to his wife Pamela.

In 1994, Pam Mead died in what was considered an accident.  The medical examiner determined she drowned after she slipped, hit a rock with her head, and fell into a fishpond in the family’s backyard. 

By 1994, Simon had broken off her relationship with Mead but was unaware his wife died mysteriously.

Three years after her death, David Mead was charged with murdering his wife.  But it wasn’t easy to reach this point.  The day after she died, David made inquires about collecting a half-million dollar life insurance policy on his wife. Pam’s family suspected Mead murdered her and contested the policy by filing a civil lawsuit.

“Before he answered any questions from me or talked to me, a claim had been made,” said former Salt Lake police detective Jill Candland. “And he told the insurance agent not to tell police.”

Candland, who was in charge of the investigation, soon learned of two witnesses who claimed Mead was planning to get rid of his wife. She also contacted the medical examiner with her new findings and the death certificate was changed from “accidental” to “pending.”

Prior to Pam’s death, Mead appeared to take on the role of a playboy.   While his wife who was a stewardess, was on a flight, he would hit nightclub spots.

Simon said she met Mead on three different occasions before she decided to go out with him.

“He said he was divorced and would like to go on a date.”

At some point during their relationship Mead invited Simon to his home.  When she arrived, the house felt odd.

“(I said) this place looks like it has a woman’s touch to on it,” Simon recalled saying to Mead. “(It’s) very interesting that you’re a single guy living here.”

Mead eventually confessed that he’s married but can’t file for divorce out of money concerns.  He told her Pam’s family took over his janitorial business when he encountered money problems.  Mead had a contract to clean up airplanes after landing. 

“He said if they were to get divorced, he would lose his family business,” Simon said. “It seemed like money meant a lot to him.”

One day, Simon was on the phone with Mead.  He talked about a plan to get rid of Pam.

“While we were talking he said ‘I should just hire a hitman and get the money.’” recalled Simon.

“After that I heard the commotion in his home.”

Pam Mead accidentally picked up the phone and heard David’s plan to hire a hitman.  Pam left him and moved in with her parents in Colorado.  But Pam eventually returned in an effort to fix their marriage.  Months later, she was dead.

By that time, Simon had broken off her relationship with David.  But she was unaware that Pam had died.

A year after her death, David Mead showed up at Simon’s office to remind her of his conversation about a hitman.

“He said something along the line of ‘you should never say anything about it,’” said Simon.  “I said if you’re innocent, you should be able to say everything truthfully and it wouldn’t matter.”

Meanwhile the civil lawsuit contesting the life insurance policy ended in a hung jury. But Pam’s family reached a settlement with Mead. At the end of the trial, Simon saw a report on the news with Pam’s family.

“(Pam’s mother) was holding up a picture of a woman and she looked familiar,” said Simon. “And then she unfolded the entire picture and it was David,”

She finally realized Pam was dead and David may have been involved in her death.  She decided to reach out to the Salt Lake district attorney’s office during Mead’s preliminary hearing.

“I pick up the phone and I ask ‘who this is?’” said then deputy district attorney Howard Lemcke.  “It’s an adult woman who is saying ‘are you the guy prosecuting David Mead?’”

Both Lemcke and Candland had heard second-hand of a woman named “Stormy” who had damaging information against David Mead.  But during efforts to track her down, they had never found her.  Now she was on Lemcke’s cellphone.

“Are you Stormy?” Lemcke asked.  

Simon didn’t want to offer her name but eventually affirmed it was her. They met for lunch that same day and heard her story.  Lemcke said they needed to put her on the stand immediately.

The next day, Simon appeared as a surprise witness in court.  It caught the defense and David Mead off guard.

“When she walked in, (David) just hung his head and looked down,” recalled Candland.  “He was caught, that was it.”

Lemcke meanwhile attempted to convince the judge that she needed to be heard despite not notifying the defense.  The judge agreed and Simon told her story about Mead.

“At that point, things started looking up a bunch,” said Lemcke.

Simon’s testimony along with the other pieces of the puzzle convinced the judge to bind the case over for trial.

And when it came to the trial, the jury took one day of deliberating before finding David Mead guilty of murdering his wife.

Friday, in the final episode of the fishpond murder, David Mead talks about that night in 1994.

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