Attorneys seek new trial for convicted Binion murderers

LAS VEGAS - Attorneys for convicted murderers Rick Tabish and Sandy Murphy will file motions seeking a new trial for the lovers convicted of killing gambling figure Ted Binion.

Defense attorneys, who appeared in court Tuesday asking for more documents relating to the couple's original trial, said they would file motions late Wednesday seeking to overturn the May 19 murder conviction.

Attorney John Momot who defended Murphy - Binion's live-in girlfriend - wouldn't comment on the filing other than to say the motion would be similar to the one filed on behalf of Tabish.

District Judge Joseph Bonaventure ordered detention center officials to turn over all documents relating to Tabish's former cellmate David Gomez.

It had been alleged that Gomez was planted in the same cell as Tabish to gather evidence.

Bill Terry, Tabish's new attorney, is investigating the allegations that were thrown out earlier this year by the judge.

Gomez refused to testify during a February hearing about the allegations by asserting his Fifth Amendment right.

Louis Palazzo, Tabish's attorney at the time, acknowledged that he had no proof that prosecutors had ordered Gomez placed next to Tabish.

Assistant Deputy Attorney Mitchell Cohen said he would provide the subpoenaed information even though he thought he had turned over all related documents to Palazzo.

Gomez was transferred out of the Clark County Detention Center two weeks ago because he is a federal prisoner, detention center Capt. Henry Hoogland told the judge.

''I don't know where he is,'' he said, adding that Gomez is somewhere in the federal penal system.

Only Tabish appeared in court with Terry and Momot. Tabish recently hired Terry, Murphy's former counsel, to replace Palazzo. Though the Murphy and Tabish were tried together, they had separate defense teams.

Earlier this month the judge ordered former defense attorneys in the murder trial to turn over financial records in a bid to determine whether the convicted killers deserve a new trial.

Terry is trying to determine whether any members of the defense team received money for movie or book deals.

If Terry can prove they did, it could be ruled a conflict of interest and a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

Murphy and Tabish were convicted of the September 1998 slaying of Binion, 55. Murphy, 28, who was Binion's live-in girlfriend, and Tabish, 35, who became her lover, killed the wealthy gambler for his money, prosecutors said.

The jury recommended a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years on the first-degree murder charge.

The pair is to be formally sentenced Sept. 8 on other charges in the case.


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