Defendant Sandra Murphy to remain in jail
LAS VEGAS – Defendant Sandra Murphy will remain behind bars in the final days before the Ted Binion murder trial opens.
A judge rejected Murphy’s bid to get out of jail, saying she has shown a pattern of disregard for the judicial system and is a possible flight risk.
Murphy and her reputed lover, Rick Tabish, are scheduled to go on trial Monday in the Sept. 17, 1998 death of Binion, a member of a famous casino clan. The trial is expected to last up to two months.
State District Court Judge Joseph Bonaventure on Friday rejected a defense motion for bail modification, citing Murphy’s previous problems under house arrest.
Defense attorney John Momot had sought Murphy’s release from jail, saying her freedom was crucial to preparing her defense.
But the judge said Murphy had been out of jail for six months and ”to claim prejudice because she is in custody is without merit.”
Bonaventure criticized Murphy for what he called ”a pattern of disregard for the judicial system.”
Murphy and Tabish were arrested last June in the Binion slaying.
She was released in July on $300,000 bail and placed on house arrest. She was jailed for a week in October when she declined to reveal her whereabouts to house arrest officers.
She was jailed again March 16 after telling officers she was going to her attorney’s office. House arrest officials say she went furniture shopping instead. In a hearing Wednesday, Bonaventure revoked Murphy’s $300,000 bail and ordered her returned to jail until Friday’s hearing on a defense motion to modify her bail.
Bonaventure said the court was too busy preparing for next week’s trial to continue focusing on issues such as her ”trips to the furniture store or the country club.”
In rejecting the motion to modify bail, Bonaventure cited not only Murphy’s two brushes with Clark County house arrest officials, but also a 1995 probation violation in California.
The judge said he was concerned about releasing Murphy on bail again because her ”future compliance is uncertain.”
Her actions demonstrated good cause that she be held without bail, he said.
In another ruling Friday, Bonaventure granted a motion to strike Las Vegas Sun investigative reporter Jeff German from the Binion trial witness list.
Attorney Dominic Gentile said German would submit an affidavit about his role in writing stories on the case, but would invoke Nevada’s reporter shield law if asked to reveal who provided information to him. The motion said German had written about 250 news articles and columns on the Binion murder case.