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Old 07-22-2017, 09:23 PM   #1
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Default Ted Binion...Homicide or something else?

I know that UM has done a segment on the death of Ted Binion, and I've also seen other media programs that have covered the case, but I'm still just not sure what to make of this one. The media did a great job of making Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish look guilty of something, but I've never been able to decide just what that something was.

I guess IMO, it's not much of a surprise that a man who struggled with such a severe Heroin addiction, that he not only had a widely known reputation of drug abuse, but also lost his career because of it, eventually died of a Heroin overdose. What do you all think? Was Ted Binion actually murdered, or was his death the tragic, but somewhat inevitable result of his severe addiction? I should also add that sadly there is a long and checkered history of drug abuse and/or addiction within my family. I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for those that struggle with that particular demon, and know that it's an extremely hard way to live, not just for the addict, but for those who love them. It's entirely possible that my opinions may be colored by this fact.

Please forgive me if there have been previous threads devoted to this case.
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Old 07-23-2017, 10:49 AM   #2
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Tabish didn't do himself any favors by getting caught digging up Binion's silver stash in the middle of the night either.

I don't know - I think there's something fishy here, but the charges and burden of proof didn't match up well enough to uphold their convictions.

Last edited by MissFit29; 07-23-2017 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MissFit29
Tabish didn't do himself any favors by getting caught digging up Binion's silver staff in the middle of the night either.

I don't know - I think there's something fishy here, but the charges and burden of proof didn't match up well enough to uphold their convictions.
I completely agree. The original update UM aired for this case shows a tape played for the jury of Sandy walking around proclaiming which of Ted's items are hers and an interviewee (I believe the prosecutor, but I've forgotten) mentions "you see a cold, steely woman who is more concerned about possessions." That may be true, but that's not enough to prove someone committed a murder. I agree she and Tabish seemed fishy, but yeah, they really needed more evidence to show that there was actually any foul play here. If anything, all the proof we've seen is that they're guilty of wanting the money and valuables Binion left behind.
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Old 07-23-2017, 06:52 PM   #4
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Definitely homicide. I lived in Las Vegas and watched both trials cover to cover. All of the evidence lined up, including phone calls and sudden lack of phone calls.

I worked at the Horseshoe as sportsbook supervisor in the late '80s and early '90s so this case held some significance to me. The patriarch Benny Binion was still alive when I started but died fairly soon. It was interesting to talk to him because he was so sure and authoritative even at advanced age. I had dealings with Jack Binion literally every day. He was a moron. That is not overstating matters. Jack Binion would overreact to the previous day...every day. That's all he did. If the sportsbook lost in hockey he'd go nuts and say something like, "Do you think any of these oddsmakers in the desert know the first thing about hockey? They don't know crap. You've got sharp guys in this town who live, eat and breathe hockey. No way we can compete with them. Cut those hockey limits in half immediately." Then naturally we'd start winning in hockey. During college basketball season Jack Binion would say, "Every bookmaker who has ever gone broke did so because of one sport and one sport basketball. The sharp guys are just too sharp. They know every player on every team...which one has a cold and which one has a sprained ankle. Meanwhile we've got oddsmakers behind a desk. I want the college basketball limits slashed immediately."

I could go on and on. Once we had a complaint against a ticket writer named Steve. But we had two Steves. It was obvious which one was the offender. Jack Binion's solution? He told the sportsbook manager to fire both Steves. Then the two Steves got into a wrestling match in the small sportsbook office.

Experiences like that are why I always have to chuckle when posters here or elsewhere try to pretend that casinos are ultra sophisticated. The reality couldn't be further from the truth. We were life and death to have employees show up on time, or for the odds in the computer to match the odds on the betting board, but people prefer to believe the Ocean's 11 garbage of all-seeing and all-knowing. Hilarious.

I had few experiences with Ted Binion other than seeing him walk through the casino semi frequently. He was well known as the troubled son. Jack Binion would occasionally get drunk and mumble something in the sportsbook office about Ted's latest stray, before realizing he should probably shut up.

There is a vast difference in caliber between Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Cyril Wecht, IMO. Both are familiar from Unsolved Mysteries cases. I'm never surprised when Baden understands probability and gets it correct while Wecht resorts to wild flails, dating as far back as the Kennedy assassination. The gap in basic ability showed up again in this case.

However, I was not surprised that David Roger overreached in this case as lead prosecutor. I suspected it was happening at the time and I was concerned about it. Roger was young and cocky with huge ambition. He used this case to springboard to multiple terms as Clark County District Attorney.

The other prosecutor from the original trial -- David Wall -- was fantastic. One of the best I've ever seen. He should have been in charge, IMO. Wall likely would have stuck to a basic coherent theory instead of Roger wanting to throw everything onto the wall and assume it wouldn't matter. I doubt there would have been a reversal by the state supreme court if Wall had dictated the prosecution.

Wall became a local judge, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:12 PM   #5
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I think Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish killed him. There was a lot of evidence brought up in the segment, but there was even more that was brought up at trial.

In the segment, they mention:
- Originally, it was thought to be an accidental heroin overdose. However, heroin was found in Ted's stomach, even though everyone that knew he did heroin claimed that he only smoked it.
- The manner of death was changed to homicide after evidence was found that someone else forced the large amount of drugs into Ted's system.
- On the morning of his death, Sandy told the housekeeper to not come in because Ted "wasn't feeling well"
- At around noon, his friend Barbara called, asking to speak with him. Sandy said he was ill and vomiting. She also said he was losing weight and didn't want to see him. Barbara didn't believe this because she had seen and spoke with Ted several times in the past few weeks and he seemed fine.
- Barbara tried to call two more times later in the day, but no one answered.
- On the day before his death, Ted told his attorney to cut Sandy out of his will, presumably because of her secret relationship with Rick.
- He also had a private investigator follow Sandy around, believing that she was cheating on him.
- Two days after his death, Rick and two others were found taking silver from Ted's underground vault.
- Rigor mortis and other evidence suggested that Ted died hours before Sandy called 911.
- A private investigator discovered that Rick had called Sandy just eight minutes before she called 911.

Other information that wasn't mentioned in the segment:
- When Ted contacted his attorney about taking Sandy out of the will, he said: "Take Sandy out of the will. If she doesn't kill me tonight...If I'm dead you'll know what happened."
- Dr. Michael Baden found marks on Ted's body that indicated that he had been held down and suffocated.
- Baden determined that the cause of death was suffocation, after the drugs failed to kill him.
- Several witnesses testified that, prior to Ted's death, Sandy claimed that Ted would soon die of an overdose and she would get a lot of money.
- Witnesses also testified that Rick had severe financial problems prior to Ted's death.
- Two witnesses also testified that Rick had talked about killing Ted and asked them to help him kill Ted.

Although it's all circumstantial, everything seems to point to Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish being responsible.
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