LAS VEGAS - A drug dealer who provided Ted Binion with a dozen balloons of heroin the night before died told a jury Monday that he warned the well-known gambling figure that heroin and Xanax can be a fatal mixture.
Peter Sheridan testified he provided Binion with heroin first in 1985, then every two or three days for a three-month period prior to Binion's death.
Sheridan testified he borrowed $180 from his own mother to buy the drugs from a supplier when Binion called him Sept. 16, 1998, asking Sheridan for 12 balloons of heroin.
Binion was found dead at his posh Las Vegas home the next day. Death was attributed to an overdose of heroin and Xanax, a prescription anti-depressant.
Prosecutors contend Binion was forced to ingest the lethal dose by his live-in girlfriend, Sandra Murphy, and her lover, Rick Tabish, after they feared she was to be cut out of Binion's will.
Murphy, of Las Vegas, and Tabish, of Missoula, Mont., are charged with murder, accused of forcing Binion to ingest the lethal dose, then suffocating him to speed his death.
Defense attorneys claim Binion, who lost his gambling license because of heroin use, either overdosed accidentally or committed suicide.
Sheridan said he had provided Binion with four balloons of heroin just three or four days before the Sept. 16 delivery of 12 balloons.
He said Binion pulled a wad of $20 and $100 bills from his pants pocket and paid $180 for the drugs, then gave him a $100 tip and 30 Xanax pills out of a prescription bottle.
Asked if Binion seemed despondent or talked of suicide when he was provided the drugs hours before his death, Sheridan said Binion talked instead of going horseback riding the next day at his ranch in Pahrump, Nev.
Sheridan, 45, said he had been on methadone treatments the past 20 years, on heroin 15 years prior to that.
He said he once was a courier of drugs from Pakistan to the United States.
Murphy sat glaring at Sheridan during much of his testimony. Defense attorneys have said she hated Sheridan for helping to feed Binion's drug habit.
Sheridan said a balloon contained about one-fifth of a gram of heroin and was transported in that fashion so a dealer could swallow the evidence if stopped by authorities.
Sheridan said he had told Binion that taking heroin and Xanax could be deadly.
He said Binion, like many drug users, could have had more than one dealer.
''I figured he did have another supplier,'' Sheridan said. ''When you're strung out like that, you can't depend on one person. The body gets immunity to it, builds resistance, and it takes more (drugs).''
Sheridan said he had not been offered immunity by prosecutors in the Binion case.