Binion Murder Trial- Defense
Notes about other Defense Players:
For the second time in a week, John Momot, who represents Murphy, and Louis
Palazzo, who is defending Tabish, appeared on Geraldo Rivera's live CNBC show
Monday night to attack the prosecution's case.
For the second time
since the beginning of the Binion trial, a prosecution witnesses has been
arrested. Larry Stocket was arrested and released for writing bad checks.
Thursday, April 27, 2000:
The defense set up an alibi for Tabish during the morning of Sept. 17, 1998,
when prosecutors say Binion was killed. Three men who once worked with Tabish
testified he was at All Star Ready Mix, a North Las Vegas concrete company, from
as early as 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 17. Prosecutors contend Binion
died between 9 a.m. and noon.
Among the alibi witnesses who testified for Tabish Thursday was former
employee Jim Mitchell, whose name surfaced in an alleged plot by Tabish to pay
off witnesses. The plot was told by a man named Frazer on Wednesday for the
prosecution. Mitchell testified that he saw Tabish "all over the
place" at All Star and that He had met Frazer only one time and never got
any money from him.
Mitchell acknowledged that he didn't come forward until a year after Binion's
death. And though he had no trouble remembering the Sept. 17 date, he could not
recall the date when police questioned him a year later. He said police tried to
intimidate him during the interview. Two other men, Rocky Teeters and Dave
Wilcox, also testified that they saw Tabish at All Star that morning as well.
Murphy's mother was first called to the witness stand late Thursday to
describe the volatile relationship between Murphy and the 55-year-old Binion. A
curious moment when Murphy stood up from the defense table as if to take the
stand herself. But then she smiled and sat down, saying "just
kidding." Her mother then was sworn in as a witness. Both women are named
Binion had physically abused Murphy several times during their stormy
State Sen. Dr. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, testified that his review of
autopsy photos found no evidence of injuries inside Binion's mouth that would
indicate he was suffocated, and he said the redness around his mouth and nose
could have been the result of attempts to resuscitate Binion.
Under cross-examination, Rawson acknowledged that he was not as qualified as
Dr. Michael Baden to make his conclusions and has never physically examined anyone who was
Friday, April 28, 2000: The
Jury got to touch the silver.
|Ann Barbato testified that on
July 28, 1998, she notarized a signature by Leo Case on an affidavit.
|She said she was face to face
with Casey, who did not appear discheveled to her, and she saw no evidence
of bruises. This is the rebuttal witness to the prosecution claim that Rick
Tabbish beat him up with a telephone book over a business deal!
The Drapes were closed the day of the murder. The Defense called witnesses to
testify the drapes were closed on many occasions. Mrs.
Janine Murphy, who married Sandy Murphy's brother at Ted Binion's home, said
that the drapes in the house were sometimes closed
introduced a videotape he took of Murphy playing the piano and Binion
sitting at the kitchen table in their home. Significantly, the drapes
were closed, contradicting the testimony of prosecution witnesses who
said that the drapes were never closed.
Fly on the Wall the inside story of early Las Vegas by
former Las Vegas Sun writer Dick Odesky-
the real poop here!
BINION MURDER CASE
Murphy's mom reveals 'threat'
By Jeff German
LAS VEGAS SUN
April 28, 2000
Sandy Murphy's mother testified today that she received a threatening
phone call in Las Vegas from a man who identified himself as
"Nick" the day after Ted Binion's death.
The elder Murphy, who also goes by the name of Sandy, said the call,
which was meant for her daughter, was received in her room at the Desert
Inn late in the evening.
She testified that the caller said: "Sandy, this is Nick. I'm
going to see to it that you fry, you f ... bitch."
Her daughter, who was sleeping in a bed next to her, said the caller
sounded like Nick Behnen, Binion's brother-in-law.
Note from Jerry- Behnen told German by phone that he was at the Desert
Inn that night and that he did call the room, but he did not say anything like
what the Mother said in Court today.
|Ken Murphy testified that Binion
called him Sept. 12, 1998, while Sandy was staying with the family in their
California home. Binion was slurring his words, said Mr. Murphy, and
insisted on speaking to Sandy because both of their dogs were dead.
|Sandy's father gave Binion
the Murphy home number that day, but said he later learned that neither dog
had died. |
|Jolley testified that he was
hired by Murphy's original attorneys to handle the petition for probate
filed on behalf of the Binion estate. |
|Murphy had no reason to rob
Binion's house after his death because under the terms of his will, she
already owned it and all of its contents, Jolley said. |
|If Murphy had lost her claim
to the will, the entire Binion estate, estimated by Jolley to be "as
much as $55 million," would have gone to Bonnie Binion, the
millionaire's daughter. |
|Jolley said Murphy would not
be entitled to her gifts if she is convicted of first-degree murder.
Dr. Jack Snyder testifies for the defense that Ted Binion died of
a drug overdose arising from the combined effects of heroin, Xanax and Valium.
Snyder attacked the credibility of the prosecution's key expert, Dr. Michael
Photo by Jeff
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Dr. Cyril Wecht was asked to evaluate the autopsy Clark County Chief
Medical Examiner Larry Simms performed on Ted Binion. "He did a good,
workman-like job," Wecht said before lodging several criticisms of Simms'
The coroner's office itself came under fire this
week. Bucklin and Wecht said fixing a time of death in the Binion case would
have been easier had local authorities tracked the rate by which the body
temperature declined. Each said the tactic is common elsewhere.
counter testimony from the prosecution's star expert, Dr. Michael
Baden, Wecht has worked on many high-profile cases, including the JFK
assassination, the death of Elvis Presley and the autopsy of Waco's
that, in his opinion, Binion died of a self-inflicted drug overdose;
he saw no evidence of homicidal suffocation. He went even further to
say that he thought it was likely a suicide.
attacked Wecht on how he decided on suicide, based only on the
"selected" information with which the defense supplied him.
Wecht said he might back away from his conclusion of suicide if he
were challenged by other information.
elicited testimony from Wecht about a friendly rivalry between himself
and Baden, suggesting that if he were commenting on the trial instead
of testifying for the other side, he might instead agree with Baden's
testified that the crime scene in the Binion murder case was
irreparably mishandled and contaminated.
that critical photographs were not taken of the body and the scene,
and that investigators failed to put a measure of scale in the
pictures the did take.
In his opinion,
it seemed as though Binion decided to lie down on the floor himself,
possibly to watch television — the remote control was found next to
his body — because it would have been difficult to drag him into
admitted on cross that a murderer might try to stage a scene to look
like suicide, but said that was no excuse to neglect a complete
investigation for trace evidence.
testified that he bought Sandy Murphy's black 1998 Mercedes SL500 in
October 1998, the month after Binion's death.
defense wanted to show that Murphy had to sell her car because she
needed money — which she would not have needed if she had stolen
cash from Binion's house
Sandy Murphy sobs at the defense table Thursday as a taped
interview she gave to police the day Ted Binion died is played for jurors.
Murphy and co-defendant Rick Tabish are charged with murder.
Photo by Jeff
Scheid. Las Vegas Review
And before court finished for the day, the defense also had one more witness.
Palazzo called former sheriff's detective Steve Huggins to the stand, who was
actually a witness from the state's case. Huggins testified Friday regarding an
interview he took from Tabish the day after he was arrested in Pahrump for
digging up Binion's silver. Prosecutors had argued that Tabish told Huggins he
was at Binion's house the day the millionaire died — Palazzo showed parts of
the inteview to contest that testimony.