Lobato | Robert Miranda and
Howard Haupt | Las
Vegas Prosecutors | Rafay/Burns
Rick Tabish and Sandy Murphy
Sandy Murphy - Rick Tabish: Acquitted of murder
Sheriff Wade Lieseke testified
during the rebuttal portion of the trial in 2004 and said he
had no idea the vault was buring in the middle of Pahrumph. He
denied giving Rick Tabish permission to dig up the silver although
Rick had called him three times before driving to the site. Lieseke
was left $250,000 by the Estate per the request of Ted Binion
in his will.
Ted Binion called Lieseke a
few weeks before he died of an accidental drug overdose telling
him he wanted Rick Tabish to dig up the silver if anything happened
to him and move it to his ranch a few miles down the road. Then
the silver would be disposed of and put in a trust for Binion's
daughter Bonnie. Lieseke denied that these telephone calls took
place, or that Binion told him to move the silver.
One month ago, former Deputy
Huggins gave a television interview saying Lieseke was lieing
on the stand and that he knew Rick Tabish was coming to dig up
the silver. He also stated that after Lieseke met with Binion's
Estate lawyers, that he told the two deputies to write what they
put in their reports.
On 9-20-98 the day after Rick
Tabish was arrested the silver in the bellydump was dumped onto
the Sheriff's Department parking lot and personnel got ammo cans
to put the loose silver dollars in. In an inventory done at the
time the silver was first taken into custody, and a second inventory
done before the first trial several ammo cans of silver cans
of silver dollars were missing. There is some evidence to indicate
that evidence was tampered with and that the former Sheriff may
have committed perjury on the stand in the November trial.
People who are concerned about
police misconduct should email Judge Joseph Bonaventure and ask
him to initiate an investigation into this matter.
This Judge presdied over both
trials, and the Prosecutors were also aware of the disrecepency
in the inventory of silver, as well as the allegations of perjury,
because the two deputies involved sued Lieseke in 2000 because
they were fired from their jobs. Another option is for people
to write to the Justice Department and request the FBI initiate
a formal investigation into the Nye County Sheriff's Department
between September 19, 1998 to the trial in 2004 to find out if
any officers committed perjury, tampered with evidence, or violated
any other state or federal laws.
You may read more about Lieseke
on Desert Justice. (Provided by a correspondent)
New Trial on other charges in Binion Murder Case Denied
(Dec. 13, 2004) -- A motion
for a new trial in the Ted Binion murder case has been denied. Sandy
Murphy and Rick Tabish were found not guilty of murder last month
in the death of the casino mogul. But they were convicted on
other lesser charges including burglary and grand larceny.
Monday attorneys for Murphy
and Tabish filed a motion for a new trial based on charges involving
Ted Binion's silver. Judge Joseph Bonaventure denied the request.
What gives a judge the
right to seal a post conviction writ of habeaus corpus?
I am writing this letter to
you because we need your support by taking a few minutes to write
one letter. I am the head of a group of 7000 citizens who know
this defendant is innocent. This defendant has spent 67 months
out of 120 months of his sentence in prison His lawyer filed
a Post Conviction Writ which would prove his innocence in December
2003. The Judge involved immediately sealed this Writ and has
held it in his chambers for over one year without scheduling
a hearing. The rules of the Supreme Court of that state Clearly
state that a hearing should be scheduled within 14 days. You,
should be as upset as we are that thisJudge has made the decision
to seal this document, withholding it from the public and press,
and not takeaction upon it. This is not the way the Justice system
in the United States works. This young man is innocent and what
is ironic, his innocence can be proven if a hearing was held.
It is my opinion this Judge is trying to protect the District
Attorney's office by keeping this document sealed. Please take
a few minutes and write this Judge and ask him to unseal this
Writ and hold a hearing. We need letters to be submitted before
In 2000 Rick Tabish and Sandy
Murphy were convicted of the murder, robbery and grand larceny
of Ted Binion in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2003, their convictions
were overturned on appeal by the Nevada Supreme Court. In November
2004, the defendants were acquitted of murder of Ted Binion but
convicted of robbery and Grand Larceny. A motion for a new trial
on the Grand Larceny is being filed because a major witness lied
during the November trial.. The sentencing date is scheduled
for January 28th 2005, if a new trial is not granted.
In December 2003, Tony Serra
Esq. representing Rick Tabish filed a Post Conviction Writ of
Habeas Corpus regarding the convictions regarding Leo Casey.
The Prosecutor misconduct issues contained in this Writ were
not addressed in his direct appeal when it was heard in 2002,
therefore the Nevada Supreme Court did not hear all the legal
issues regarding the Casey convictions. If the high court had
heard all of the legal issues involed his convictions regarding
Casey would have been over turned and Mr. Tabish would have received
a new trial. It is also important for you to know the co-defendants
in the extortion case were offered a plea bargain in which they
did not have to admit guilt and received a $2000 fine. Mr. Tabish
received 72 months on one conviction and 120 months on the second
conviction. The sentencing of the co-defendants were not in proportion,
to the sentence Mr Tabish received. The extortion and use of
a deadly weapon ( a phone book) were against a Leo Casey. All
the witnesses who testified in the trial in 2000 testified Mr.
Casey did not have one scratch, abrasion, or contusion and his
clothing was not dirty. If Mr. Casey was beaten for over an hour,
and in his sixties, why didn't he suffer one scratch, why weren't
his clothes covered with dirt. If you visit my website, Desert
Justice you will learn that Casey has been convicted of fraud
on numerous occasions. If you read the court transcripts from
the trial in 2000 you will learn that Casey used three SSN's
one of which was from a person who died, he paid off some people,
he was extorting money and equipment from the owner of sandpit
in LV, etc. New information was revealed in the trial this year,
that Casey owed Rick Tabish $650,000 or a payment set at $40,000
per month. As Tony Serra Esq. Stated in the trial, " what
better motive does Casey have, then to keep Mr. Tabish in jail."
The investigation was headed
by a private investigator named Tom Dillard, who was paid $450,000
by the Binion Estate for the arrest and conviction of Rick Tabish.
Dillard was sued in 2000 by Mr. Howard
Haupt, for withholding exculpatory evidence when he worked
as a LV Metro Homicide detective.
Dillard's partner, Robert Leonard
who testied in both trials, lost a lawsuit in June 2005, for
withholding exculpatory evidence in a trial involving a man who was on Nevada's death row for 14 years.
The Prosecutor involved, David
Roger was elected District Attorney after the first high profile
trial. Dillard took this case, with the provision that Roger
be assigned to the case as a prosecutor. They are best friends.
The other prosecutor in this case, David Wall was elected District
Court Judge after the first trial. Both used the first high profile
trial win in their campaigns.
In 2002 numerous complaints
were lodged against Judge Joseph Bonaventure for violating the
Nevada Judicial Canons during and after the first trial. For
three years, people who filed these complaints have received
letters saying an investigation was ongoing. These complaints
have not been dismissed nor any hearings scheduled. This is a
violation of the regulations set forth by the Nevada Supreme
Court. People need to ask why this Commission has failed to do
their jobs. This Commission is suppose to provide a checks and
balance system for Judge's who violate the Nevada Judicial Canons.
When the Post Conviction Writ
regarding Prosecutor Misconduct was filed, it was immediately
sealed by Judge Joseph Bonaventure and has remained sealed until
this day. The usual procedure for that District Court is for
a hearing to be scheduled within 14 days. Mr. Tabish's Writ has
been sealed from the press for over one year, why? Is it to protect
the reputation of David Roger the DA? I have researched the internet
and been unable to find one other defendant who had his/her post
conviction writ sealed by a Judge for one year.
On the day, the verdicts were
read, Mr. Serra's co-counsel were asked if they had any other
pending legal matters and they stated the sealed Writ still needed
to be heard. Judge Bonaventure stated that " he may or may
not hear the Writ on January 28. 2005 at sentencing,. The District
Court Judge has a legal obligation to hear Post Conviction Writs
according to the rules set forth by the Nevada Supreme Court.
All persons convicted of any
crime have due process and constitutional rights, to file Post
Conviction Writs and the courts have a duty to hear and rule
on these legal documents. Now the State has stated in the local
newspapers they want to use the convictions regarding Casey and
ask Mr. Tabish be declared a habitual offender, and sentenced
to more time. This is not only unfair, but violates Mr. Tabish's
due process rights, because the post conviction Writ has never
been ruled on by Judge Bonaventure. Mr. Tabish deserves the same
rights that any other defendant has and the fact he was involved
in the high profile Binion case, does not diminish his rights
under the law.
I am asking people to take
a few minutes and write Judge Joseph Bonaventure and request
he unseal the Post Conviction Writ and schedule a hearing on
or before January 28th. Our courts are obligated to hear all
motions legally filed and to rule on them. Our courts are not
to be cloaked in secrecy and Writs/Motions sealed and hidden
from public view.
You can write Judge Joseph
Bonaventure at the Clark County Courthouse, 200 S Third Street,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89115. Please request he unseal the Post Conviction
Writ and schedule a hearing. If you believe in the justice system,
and that it should be fair and equal to all, please take a few
minutes and write this letter. Mr. Tabish is innocent of all
charges for which he was convicted, and has been incarcerated
for 5 ? years. He needs concerned people to write and support
him. Please take a few minutes and write one letter.
Thank you for your anticipated
The witnesses we never got to see
By Laura Barandes, Court TV, May 11, 2000
In his closing arguments, defense
attorney John Momot remarked that the prosecutors refrained from
calling several potentially key witnesses in their case. "You
didn't get a chance to see him," said Momot of private investigator
Tom Dillard, "like the homicide detectives. It's not my
job to explain that."
Here is a look at some of the
witnesses who appeared on the prosecution's list, but never made
it to the stand:
The private investigator
hired by the Binion estate, Tom Dillard is alternately credited
and blamed for shifting Ted Binion's death from "undetermined"
to homicide. He is a retired Las Vegas police officer, a 20-year
veteran of the force.
"[The family] felt strongly
that there was foul play from the beginning and that's the reason
I was hired," Dillard told Court TV.
"The family did not for
a second believe that Ted Binion overdosed on drugs," the
private investigator explained. "He was a very sophisticated
careful drug user." Nor would Binion have committed suicide,
said Dillard. "These were two areas that were totally out
Dillard conducted interviews
with nearly 100 witnesses and headed the investigation of Binion's
house until handing over his findings to the police department.
The defense claims that Dillard lead witnesses in questioning
and took advantage of the fact that he was not required to follow
due process or the rules governing search warrants in his investigation.
Put simply, defense attorneys
Louis Palazzo and John Momot argued that Dillard was acting in
the capacity of a law enforcement official but without any of
the the legal restrictions. To that end, they filed a motion
Jan. 24 "to declare investigator Tom Dillard an agent of
the state of Nevada" and to suppress any evidence that he
provided to police.
"I took the case under
the condition that I would be able to turn over whatever information
I turned up to the authorities," said Dillard.
The defense claimed that through
Dillard, "[t]he prosecution, police and others have had
open and nearly unlimited warrantless access to Sandy Murphy's
residence on Palomino Lane." In addition to the nearly constant
flow of people who contaminated the house, argued the defense,
the "discovery" of a pocket knife and thumbcuffs is
A bag of silver coins was first
noticed by Detective Michael Buczek during the execution of a
search warrant on Jan. 14, 1999. Binion's estate attorney, James
Brown, testified during trial that he was present when the bag
was found and that Dillard took it to his office for storage.
It was not until mid-March 1999, Brown testified, that he and
Dillard looked at the bags' contents more closely and "found"
the pocket knife and thumbcuffs, the defense wrote in its motion.
Dillard has remained out of
sight during the Ted Binion murder trial, although his lawyer
has appeared several times on camera to defend the integrity
of his client. Prosecutors never called Dillard to the stand,
nor did defense attorneys who probably wanted the private investigator
to remain a dark, ghost-like figure in jurors' minds.
Becky Binion Behnan
All of Ted Binion's
living siblings were on the prosecution's list of potential witnesses,
but none were called to testify during trial. Outside the courtroom,
the most vocal among them has been Becky Binion Behnan, Binion's
sister, who clearly harbors intense hatred of Sandy Murphy.
In early interviews, Behnan
claimed that her brother was an experienced drug user who would
never have misjudged his heroin intake. "He explained to
me that the way he used heroin, by smelling it or ingesting it
through smoke," would prevent him from overdosing, Behnan
told Court TV.
Behnan said that she was convinced
from the beginning that Binion did not cause his own death because
of the circumstances surrounding the event. "I think that
the fact that I heard about the Xanax and the bedroll...did alert
me to think that...this needed to be looked at as a homicide,"
"I know Ted was very concerned
that you could not use Xanax with heroin, and he even spoke to
the drug dealer that night about that fact," Behnan explained.
Binion bought 12 balloons of
tar heroin from his drug dealer, Peter Sheridan, the night before
he died. The defense has argued that Sheridan should be the one
on trial for murder; according to Nevada state law, if someone
gives drugs to a person and that person dies, he can be charged
with murder in the first degree.
Why was Sheridan, who did not
even receive immunity from the prosecution for his testimony,
never charged? "Because he wasn't in the will," said
John Momot, who represents Sandy Murphy, Binion's live-in girlfriend.
Under the terms of the will, Murphy stood to gain the house,
all its contents and $300,000.
Behnan did nothing to hide
her negative feelings toward Murphy, claiming that the younger
woman spoke to her disparagingly over the phone several times.
"I've never seen a more greedy person in my life,"
said Binion's sister. Behnan also blamed Murphy for causing any
change in Binion's behavior. "She is very manipulative,"
Despite their constant bickering
over the family inheritance, Behnan says she always cared about
her brother. "I expressed concern of his drug use, because
being his sister, I didn't want anything to happen to him,"
However, the defense contends
that Behnen, like the rest of Binion's family and friends, never
lifted a finger to intervene with the millionaire's drug use.
Several state witnesses testified that Murphy spoke to them about
Binion's addiction, even asking for help, but admitted they never
offered any. Murphy alone was the one who carried the burden
of caring for the 55-year-old drug addict.
There is some question as to
how close Behnan was with Binion. The two were in constant litigation
over money, and Binion had rushed to remove his silver fortune
from the basement of the Horseshoe casino when he was forced
to sell his share of the business to Behnan.
Prosecutors claimed that Carroll accompanied Sandy Murphy on
her visit to the Neiman Marcus salon on Sept. 10, 1998. According
to the state, Murphy told manicurist Deana Perry that "Ted
was going to die of an overdose of heroin within the next three
According to her attorney Chet
Bennett, Carroll was arrested in California on a material witness
warrant last January, purportedly because prosecutors wanted
to make sure they knew where she was. She was jailed for 36 hours,
said Bennett, "in solitary confinement...with chains and
everything." Though prosecutors seemed content with leaving
Carroll in jail until the trial in late March, said Bennett,
a judge ordered her release.
Bennett said his client was
with Murphy the whole morning of the salon visit and disputes
Perry's suggestion that Murphy was intoxicated at the "ridiculous"
hour of 10:30 a.m. During her testimony, Perry said that on Sept.
10, 1998 Murphy appeared "hung-over," "not all
there," and "under the influence of something, yes."
Bennett also said that Perry
gave a manicure to Carroll, not Murphy on the day in question.
For that reason, Murphy would not have been alone with Perry
to discuss her relationship with Binion, said Bennett. In addition,
Carroll was close with Binion and claims she and Murphy would
never joke about his drug addiction - especially with strangers.
Bennett contends that prosecutors
practiced "witness intimidation" against his client
in order to pressure her to corroborate Perry's testimony at
the grand jury proceedings. However, said Bennett, "they
didn't give us the script."
Carroll remained on prosecutors'
witness list, but she never took the stand. The defense also
decided not to call her.
Sheriff Wade Lieseke
The defense has claimed that Rick Tabish told Sheriff Lieseke
he was coming out to Pahrump to get Ted Binion's silver, and
that Lieseke was privy to the arrangement.
Tabish and two associates were
arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 19, 1998, digging
up the nearly 46,000 pounds of silver from Binion's underground
vault. Tabish at first told sheriff's deputies that he was loading
concrete, but later said he was fulfilling Binion's last wish:
Binion allegedly told Tabish to get the silver and put it in
a trust for his daughter if he died.
According to prosecutors, there
was no such arrangement, and Tabish offered Lieseke up to $100,000
to allow the silver hiest. The state called several officers
who were present at the scene of the silver vault, including
Ed Howard, Dean Pennock and Steve Huggins. All three testified
that Tabish's activities were too suspicious for them to ignore,
and that they decided to arrest him along with his two associates
- against Lieseke's wishes.
The defense argued that the
three Nye County officers were acting for political reasons,
not law enforcement reasons when they defied Lieseke to arrest
Tabish. The officers admitted that they were adamantly supporting
Lieseke's opponent for sheriff in the upcoming election at the
The jury heard from all present
at the scene of the alleged silver theft - all except Sheriff
Binion investigator involved in courthouse incident
Private eye Dillard accused of throwing subpoena to ground
By GLENN PUIT Las Vegas
Review-Journal,LSaturday, September 11, 2004
A private investigator credited
with putting together much of the evidence in the Ted Binion
murder case was involved in a courthouse tiff Friday.
The moment unfolded after investigator
Tom Dillard had just finished testifying in a pretrial hearing
for Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish, who are accused of killing
Binion to steal his valuables.
Tabish's attorney, J. Tony
Serra, said his investigator, Blair Abbott, tried to serve Dillard
with a routine subpoena in a hallway when Dillard started acting
"He took the paper, he
threw it on the ground and walked out," Serra said.
Serra said the subpoena was
accompanied by a $26 check from his law firm to Dillard for payment
of a potential witness fee, which is a common occurrence in Nevada.
But after the incident, the check went missing, and now Serra
said he might have to change the account number on his law firm's
checking account as a result.
In complaining about the incident
to District Judge Joseph Bonaventure, Serra said he was shocked
at such behavior from Dillard, who is a former homicide investigator
with Las Vegas police. Dillard was also hired by Ted Binion's
estate to investigate Binion's death, and he later provided much
of the information he gathered about Binion's demise to police.
"This man is a professional
man, a former police officer ... he knew he was going to be served,"
Serra said. "I have never encountered that type of attitude
from a professional person."
An unnamed state corrections
officer then stood up in court and told Bonaventure that she,
too, witnessed the incident. She confirmed Serra's account and
described Dillard as "extremely rude."
Bonaventure did not take any immediate
action against Dillard, who did not respond to two messages seeking
comment left on his cell phone voice mail afterward.