Murder In Vegas: Death of Casino Boss Ted Binion

Sex, drugs, gambling and murder in the glow of Glitter Gulch

Posted by Chuckmonster

In June 1999, nine months after Binion's death a warrants for murder are served on Murphy's and Tabish's residences at 5 o'clock in the morning. No one answered at Tabish's house, but a groggy eyed Rick Tabish and Sandy Murphy collectively answered the door at Tabish's apartment when the warrant is served. Up until that point the couple had denied any romantic involvement.

More phone records show that Tabish and Murphy were in contact regularly prior to Binion's death. It is also revealed that Binion told his attorney to remove Murphy from his will in the days before his murder. Binion told his lawyer 'If i'm dead in the next few days, you'll know why..." Binion's housekeeper, Mary Montoya-Gascoigne said that Murphy called her to cancel her services the day before Binions death, stating that Ted 'wasn't feeling well.' To make matters worse, a bunch of Binion's rare coins show up in the posession of one of Tabish's friends in his hometown in Montana.

Slowly but surely the prosecution's case began to take place. A leaked Las Vegas Police investigation argued that the death scene was staged, noting a semi cleaned trail of excrement leading accross the room (the body had been moved after death) the absence of vomiting (a usual occurance in overdoses) small circular bruises found on Binion's chest and wrists - consistent with the use of handcuffs. Checks of credit card purchases showed that Binion and Murphy had purchased some sequined handcuffs at the Forum Shops at Caesars that were consistent with the bruises on Binion's wrists. The handcuffs were never found.

The murder trial began on April 1st, 2000 at the same time as the 2000 World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe Casino - walking distance from the Clark County Courthouse. Celebrity forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, most known from his testimony in the O.J. Simpson trial, testifies that Binion was 'burked' to death by Murphy and Tabish. Burking is the act of compressing the air out of the lungs by applying pressure to the chest while keeping the victims nose and mouth closed. It is named after Scottish serial killer William Burke, who used this technique to kill people whose cadavers he sold to medical research for profit. Dr. Baden continued: "I went to the [Medical Examiner's] office to look at the photos, and I noticed petechial hemorrhages in the eyes suggestive of suffocation. I also recognized handcuff marks on Binion's wrist, abrasions around his lips, and marks on the chest that looked like shirt button compression. That alerted me to the possibility of burking." County Chief Medical Examiner Larry Simms, who concluded Binion died of a forced heroin and Xanax overdose. The most probable cause of death was first forced overdose, then when Binion became physically weak Tabish and Murphy finished off the job by burking him.

In the end, the 12 jurors, nine women and three men, found Murphy and Tabish guilty of murder as well as stealing Binion's valuables after his death, including his $6 million fortune in Pahrump. They were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

In June of 2003 the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in a split decision that presiding District Judge Joseph Bonaventure erred by allowing Tabish to be tried on extortion charges unrelated to the Binion murder. Rick Tabish has been declared indigent by the court and awaits the retrial in jail. Sandy Murphy is currently free on bail. The retrial of the Ted Binion murder is scheduled to begin in October 2004.

A verdict was returned at high noon on November 23, 2004. Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish are not guilty of murder and robbery but found guilty of lesser counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary and grand larceny.

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Comments & Discussion

Is it possible to compress this story into 1000 words? Tabish and Murphy are evil. Straight Up.

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