A Mysterious Death
Las Vegas Fire Department paramedic Kenneth Dickinson was the first to arrive at the Palomino Lane residence. Two other emergency medical technicians accompanied him, and a second team of paramedics arrived moments later. They parked on the street in front of the expansive gated home, and walked up the driveway where a hysterical young woman came running toward them screaming nearly unintelligible words when she met them. Between her sobs and carrying on, they were able to discern part of what she was saying: Hes not breathing! Hes not breathing! One of the paramedics, Steven Reincke, remained outside for a few moments and tried to calm down the hysterical woman while Dickinson and the other technicians entered the house. In the process Reinke learned that her name was Sandy Murphy. Later, Reincke testified in court about the nature of his conversation with Sandy.
What is your relationship to the patient? Reincke asked.
Im his wife, Sandy responded.
When was the last time you saw your husband? Reincke wanted to establish a timeframe for his report.
It was this morning, Sandy sobbed.
Reinke left Sandy with another technician and entered the home.
Inside, Dickinson and Reincke found a man lying on his back in the den in the southeast quadrant of the house. It was Ted Binion, all right. There was no mistake about that. Teds remarkable moon shaped face was known all over town. He was lying on a small mattress atop a throw rug in front of the television. A comforter had been draped over his lower legs, and there was an empty medicine bottle labeled Xanax lying on the floor beside him. His skin was ashen and gray, and he wasnt moving. Their first thoughts were that he was dead. Reincke walked over to the body, reached down and felt for a pulse in one of Binions carotid arteries. There was none. The body was cold to the touch and it was apparent that rigor mortis was present in the area of his jaw but was strangely absent from the rest of his body.
In the next moment Sandy Murphy ran into the room, dropped to the floor and attempted to embrace the body. It was all the paramedics could do to keep her off and away from the body, but they finally managed to escort her out of the room. One of the technicians remained with her in an attempt to console her as she continued rambling on hysterically.
Dickinson and Reincke promptly hooked up Binions body to a monitor, but he was a flat liner. There was no need for a chest rub or other attempts at resuscitation. It was clear to them that Binion was dead, and he had been for some time. Just how long he had been dead was difficult for them to say, but they guessed that hed been dead for several hours.
One of Binions neighbors, Janice Tanno, saw all of the activity and wanted to know what was going on and to see if she could help out in any way. Shocked at the news of Binions death, Tanno wanted to know how her neighbor had died. She was informed that at this point the cause of death had not been determined.
Sandra Murphy, meanwhile, was still hysterical. Amid all the crying and emotional outbursts, it was difficult to comprehend anything of what she was saying. At one point she composed herself enough to stop babbling and stated, I dont want to hurt Teddy. Although little attention was given to the statement at that time, investigators would later wonder why she was speaking in the present tense. Why would she make such a statement? Had she merely repeated something that she had said to someone earlier, perhaps during an attempt to refuse to do something that someone else wanted her to do, and whatever it was had been indelibly embedded in her mind? It had seemed like a strange thing to say under the circumstances, but then people often say unusual things and act strangely under these types of circumstances.
Because of her seemingly uncontrollable and unmanageable hysteria, and after stating to one of the paramedics that she wanted to kill herself and the fact that she began to hyperventilate, it was decided that Sandy should be taken to the hospital. She was placed onto a gurney and transported by ambulance to Valley Hospital a few blocks away. Janice Tanno accompanied Sandy in an attempt to console her.
It was 5:29 p.m. when Sandy was seen in the emergency room at Valley Hospital by Dr. Brian Kominsky. Dr. Kominsky wrote in his chart notes that aside from being hysterical, Sandy Murphy appeared healthy and otherwise normal. He recommended that crisis counselors should evaluate her, and another emergency room physician prescribed Valium to calm her down. However, when nurse Larry Krev attempted to administer the Valium, Sandy refused it and her hysteria continued.
Boy, a little overdramatic, eh? Krev said to a detective waiting outside Murphys room. Krev would further characterize Sandys behavior as almost theatrical. Approximately twenty minutes later, Krev noted that Sandy had calmed down considerably without the Valium.