Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ted Binion

Romance in Beverly Hills

As in any investigation of great intensity one question, of course, always leads to another as detectives run down leads in their attempts to establish what actually happened and learn the truth.  One such question for Detective Buczek and his fellow detectives was that of the possible romantic relationship that they were beginning to believe existed between Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish.  Because of information that was being funneled to the Binion family and Ted Binions estate, in part through the efforts of a private investigator, the trail soon led Buczek to the posh hotels and lifestyles of Beverly Hills, California.

As he followed the trail to Southern California, Buczek learned that on September 11, 1998, the Friday prior to Ted Binions death, a Mr. and Mrs. Rick Tabish checked into the Peninsula Hotel on Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  The woman calling herself Mrs. Tabish registered the couple into the hotel and signed the guest registration card S.M. Tabish.  Upon checking in she had requested a room with a Jacuzzi, and ordered a bottle of Barbaresco wine and two-dozen long-stem red roses.  She told the clerk that the wine and the roses were a surprise for her husband.  When Buczek checked the guest registration card, he compared the signature of S.M. Tabish to other signatures of Sandra Murphys that he had obtained, and it was his opinion that they matched.

Upon interviewing the hotels employees, Buczek learned that the couple he now believed were in fact Murphy and Tabish had rented a cabana, a small structure used as a bathhouse and for massages, the following day.  They also rented a cabana for the next day, Sunday, and ordered massages for both of them in their room for that evening.  When he examined the charge slips for the cabana rentals and the massages, Buczek noted that S.M. Tabish had again signed them.

Through the assistance of Detective Les Zoeller of the Beverly Hills Police Department, Buczek was able to determine through interviews with the cabana and spa supervisor of the Peninsula Hotel, that Sandy Murphy was indeed the person that she had served during the couples stay at the hotel.  The hotel supervisor positively identified Sandra Murphy as the person she knew as Mrs. Tabish from a photo that Detective Zoeller had shown her.

Similarly, Zoeller contacted the masseuse who had performed the massages on Mr. and Mrs. Tabish.  After showing the masseuse photos of both Murphy and Tabish, the masseuse positively identified both Murphy and Tabish as the persons who had received massages at the hotel.

With the romantic link between Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish now more firmly established, Buczek sought out other possible witnesses who might be able to corroborate the new information.  One of the people he contacted was Sandys friend, Linda Carroll.  According to Carroll, Sandy had confided in her that she had gone to Beverly Hills with Rick Tabish and that the two of them had stayed at the Peninsula Hotel.  Carroll had also seen a photograph of Sandy and Tabish posing together in what she termed an affectionate pose.

In Buczeks mind there was no longer any doubt that Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish were romantically involved with each other, at a time when Sandy was still living with Ted Binion.  It also appeared to him that Sandy was spending Ted Binions money to pay for her and Tabishs weekend tryst.

Buczek soon learned that the trip that Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish had made to Beverly Hills in September had not been their first.  Through the assistance of detectives in Beverly Hills, Buczek learned that they had checked into the Beverly Hills Hotel, another posh, very exclusive and expensive establishment, on Saturday, August 8, 1998.  Similar to their trip in September, the hotels guest registration records had been signed by a Ms. S. Tabish.  They had rented a single room with a deluxe king-size bed.  That evening Tabish and Murphy had drinks in the hotels Polo Lounge.  The charge slip indicated that they had ordered a Coors Light, presumably for Tabish, and a glass of wine, presumably for Murphy.

The next morning, according to the hotels records, a telephone call had been placed from their room to Ted Binions residence in Las Vegas.  Although it was not known or determined what was said during the telephone call or whether it had been Tabish or Murphy who had made the call, it was an important link or factor in establishing the callers connection with Ted Binion and helped solidify the identification process by showing that they were indeed in Beverly Hills and had made, or at least had attempted to make, contact with Ted Binion by calling his home.  They also had rented a poolside cabana for the day, which this time was signed by Sandy Murphy (a.k.a. Tabish).  The poolside cafÈ server, who positively identified the couple as Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish after being shown photographs, remembered them.

If there had been any doubt in Buczeks mind that Murphy and Tabish were romantically involved prior to Ted Binions death, that doubt had now been irrevocably erased.  He was satisfied that he and his fellow detectives had uncovered sufficient evidence to prove that such a relationship existed.  Now all he had to do was tie them to Ted Binions death.  Given enough time, he now felt confident that he could.

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