George Knapp's Street Talk
Led by Award-winning investigative reporter George Knapp, the Eyewitness News I-TEAM is the top television investigative unit in southern Nevada. Political expert Jon Ralston provides insight into local and state government, and former Mayor Jan Jones adds an insider's viewer of City Hall. I-TEAM photographer Eric Sorenson rounds out this first-class investigative unit.
What did Sandy Murphy have on her mind as she prepared to face murder charges for killing the man she claims she loved? In this exclusive interview with George Knapp, you'll find out.
The late casino executive Ted Binion certainly had personal demons. He died of a drug overdose, but was it murder, and if so, who did it? Hs ex girlfriend Sandy Murphy is accused of the crime, but Murphy is prepared to say that others may have wanted Binion dead.
Next month's trial is likely to unveil two very different versions of Ted Binion's final days. Binion's family says they loved him but were shut out by Sandy Murphy. Murphy says Ted was long ago abandoned by his family, and it is they who now want control of his millions. And it gets even more complicated than that.
Ted Binion's sister Becky makes no bones about it. She was the driving force in getting Ted's death ruled a homicide and she's helped keep the heat on prime suspects Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish.
She told reporters she loved her brother, had breakfast with him every day, and phoned him often, but was shut out of Ted's life by Sandy Murphy.
That version of life within the Binion family is greatly at odds with testimony likely to surface during the murder trial. Becky, Ted, and their older brother Jack were involved in a bitter but well documented struggle for control of the family's Horseshoe Casino. Becky won.
Some close to Ted say he despised his sister. Law enforcement has even been told Ted Binion wanted to put a contract out on her. Will this come up during the trial?
Equally sensational are allegations that someone called for a hit on Ted.
And to complicate things even more, lawmen have been told there was a Mafia plot to kill and rob Ted Binion, a scheme hatched by the same mob figures who killed Binion's running mate, Fat Herbie Blitzstein.
Sandy Murphy has made no secret of her belief that Ted's family abandoned him to his private hell. Murphy says Binion spent his holidays with her family instead of his own.
Murphy says, "We went to visit my family 4-5 times a year, always for Christmas. Bonnie spent the holiday with her mother, so Teddy would spend Christmas with my family."
The Murphy family came to know Binion well. They once threw him an impromptu birthday party.
Murphy's father, Kenneth Murphy, says, "He put his arm around my shoulder and said he's never had a birthday before, it was the first time and he didn't know what to say. I thought for having everything, it was sad for a man of his age."
The Murphy family also learned of Ted's personal demons.
Kenneth Murphy, says, "When I heard of Ted's death, I assumed it was an overdose, knowing him. The last few times I talked to him he was incoherent, so I expected it."
Sandy Murphy would rather not be in the spot she's in, and neither she nor her lawyers will say much about what will come out in the trial, but it almost seems as if she can't wait to tell her version about life within the Binion family.
Sandy Murphy says, "There's a proper time for everything, and I'll get my chance in court."
We don't know if there is proof that anyone had a contract out on anyone else. We'll have to wait until the trial to find out. What emerges from the interviews, no matter which side you believe, is a sad tale about a rich, likable, but troubled man.
Sandy Murphy Interview, Part II
One of the strangest twists in the ongoing Ted Binion murder saga involved the disappearance of some underwear. The item belonged to suspect Sandra Murphy, who says the underwear was lost -- or taken -- while she was in jail.
Murphy has not talked publicly about it ... until now!
Sandy Murphy's unmentionables disappeared while she was housed at the county jail. Her lawyer raised a fuss about it, to a chorus of snickers and wisecracks, but John Momot contends he was playing for high stakes.
Momot says, "I had to file a motion to protect the record, to protect Sandra. I don't know what's going on out there, what an investigator, private or otherwise is doing."
The unspoken implication is that investigators working for the Binion family might secure the panties, remove biological samples, and then plant those samples in a place that might implicate Sandy Murphy or lend credence to her alleged sexual fling with codefendant Rick Tabish. For Murphy, it was a major embarrassment.
Sandy Murphy says, "It was very uncomfortable, it was disheartening to think that a pair of your undergarments are somewhere out there, who knows where, in someone else's possession. That is not a pleasant thought for any woman."
Despite the serious stakes, news accounts had fun with the story, and more than a few journalists remarked about the flap over, what else, legal briefs.
Sandy Murphy says, "As far as the jokes go, I have a sense of humor and some of it was funny and some of it wasn't. John did the best he could with the situation."
Murphy's positive attitude about her predicament has struck more than a few people as odd. They wonder how she could be so calm. Where is the fear, the apprehension, one writer asks. What's more, where is the grief over Binion's death? It's true that in our interview, Murphy was defiant, almost flippant about things she's read, saying, "I've had so many things said about me in the last year and a half, most of the time I laugh."
And in court, Murphy's talkative nature has brought her close to the edge.
Those who think she didn't grieve must have missed the footage from the day Binion died and not seen images of her crying in the courtroom.
It's now been a year and a half since Binion's death, enough time for at least some healing. She stays focused working on her own defense. Still there are bad days. Sandy Murphy says, "Yeah it's really tough. There's days I don't want to get up in the morning and comb my hair and dude up and show up, but if I don't, you know, its really important to do my best to help defend myself."
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