Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ted Binion

September 17, 1998

When Ted Binions longtime gardener, Tom Loveday, showed up on Thursday morning, September 17, he couldnt have known, at least not at first, that something was terribly amiss behind the walls of Binions 8,000-square-foot palatial home located at 2408 Palomino Lane.  Thursday was Lovedays regular day to mow the grass at Binions expansive gated ranch-style home in an upscale but older Las Vegas neighborhood, centrally located near Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard and only minutes from downtown where the Horseshoe is located.  It was about 9 a.m. when Loveday arrived and at first this particular Thursday didnt seem any different from any of the other five hundred or so times that he had taken care of Binions grounds during the last fourteen years.  It didnt take him long, however, to begin to sense that something wasnt quite right.

Binion home side driveway
Binion home side driveway (Gary C. King)

Fearing that something might be wrong, Loveday walked around the perimeter of the house that afforded him, at best, a cursory examination.  He first noticed that the living room curtains were closed, and he had never seen the curtains closed at any time on past workdays.  As a result he could not see into the den where Binion spent most of his time when he was at home.  He looked through the kitchen door near where the dogs were staying put, but he couldnt see anything there, either.  The house was too dark.  Similarly, he went to Binions bedroom window and peered in through the opened drapes.  Binions bed was made and there were no articles of clothing on the floor.  Knowing that Binion and Sandy Murphy had separate bedrooms, Loveday made his way around to Sandys room.  Her drapes were open too and, like Binions, her bed was made.  Where was everyone?  He wondered.

On Thursdays it wasnt unusual for Sandy to open her bedroom window and talk to Loveday.  On occasion, since Sandy hung out with exotic dancers, Loveday would see large-busted girls who liked showing off what they had walking around the house with little covering their bodies, often wearing only tee shirts.  The girls Sandy hung out with were a vain lot, and Loveday would sometimes see them with bandaged noses following plastic surgery.  On one occasion Sandy even told him that Ted hadnt made love with her for a long time due to his drug use, and blatantly said to Loveday that she needed sex.  She had even invited him in to smoke marijuana with her, but Loveday had declined the offers.  She was certainly pretty enough with her voluptuous lips, dancers legs, buff body, and those brown bedroom eyes.  At five-feet eight-inches tall and weighing in at one-hundred eight pounds, Sandy, her hair no longer blonde but now a light brown, closer to her natural color, was certainly an inviting young woman. But Sandy was Ted Binions girl, and no one in his right mind dared to mess with Binions girl.  However, there was no Sandy and no flirting on this particular day.  Nothing was going on at the Binion house that day that Loveday could see or hear, no scantily clad young women were running around the house and there were no apparent signs of other visitors.  It was quietall too quiet for the Binion residence.

And where was the maid, Mary Montoya-Gascoigne?  He wondered.  She had usually shown up for work by the time Loveday got there.  Although concerned over his observations, Loveday decided that he had learned all that he could from his scrutiny of the premises and went about his business.  He left Ted Binions home sometime between 1 and 1:30 p.m.  He wouldnt know until later why he had sensed that something was wrong at the Binion residence.

Binion's ranch entrance
Binion's ranch entrance (Gary C. King)

Sometime after Loveday left the grounds, Sandy Murphy emerged from the house with Rick Tabish, and they drove to Horseshoe Gamings administrative offices without an appointment.  Sandy wanted to see Kathy Rose, Ted Binions personal secretary.  The receptionist told her that Rose was in a meeting, but Sandy asked her to interrupt the meeting so that she could give Rose a check that needed to be deposited into Teds account.

Rose came out of the meeting and met Sandy in the reception area.  Sandy looked tired, almost haggard, like she had been up all night.  She certainly did not look the showgirl type like she normally appeared.  Rose thought it was odd that Sandy would be bringing in a check for Ted.  She had never done that before.  During the meeting Sandy told Rose that Ted had obtained a prescription drug to assist him in getting off heroin once again.  After losing his gaming license for good because of his associations with known mobsters and because of his drug problems, Ted had become depressed and had started smoking heroin again, chasing the dragon as it is called among drug users.  Sandy explained that she had in fact stayed up all night with him at his request.  Still wondering why Ted hadnt brought the check in himself, Sandy explained to Rose that Ted was sleeping.  Besides, she said, she left the house to go out and get something to eat which made it convenient for her to drop off the check.  Afterward, she said, she was going to go home to check on Ted.

A short time later Sandy called Kathy Rose again, and asked her for the phone number of one of Binions associates.  She didnt say why she needed the number, but Rose gave it to her anyway.  Rose heard the sound of a male voice in the background on Sandys end, and did not press Sandy further about why she wanted the phone number.  In retrospect, Sandys contact with Rose that day had seemed out of character, even strange, because she rarely had an occasion to speak to her, much less see her in person.

Shortly thereafter, at 3:55 p.m. the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments emergency communications department received a 911 call from a woman who was obviously distraught and quite hysterical.

My husband has stopped breathing, was all that she had said, and then had abruptly hung up.  Although the call was immediately disconnected, the dispatcher was able to trace it to 2408 Palomino Lane, Ted Binions residence.

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