Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ted Binion

A Continuing Investigation

The investigators continued their work throughout the night of September 17 at Ted Binions home.  It was busy with detectives and crime scene technicians coming and going, and security was posted to keep out the merely curious.  Outside, above the entrance to the house, they had earlier observed a Halloween decoration that read R.I.P.  Although crime scene analyst Michael Perkins had thought it was strange to have such a decoration posted outside a month and a half before Halloween, which he so noted it in his report, no one had had the time to pay it much thought because of all the other work they were doing.  However, as he went room-to-room in his search for clues as to what had happened there, Perkins found another identical decoration inside the house.  Had Binion been preparing for Halloween this early?  He wondered.  Or was this just a cruel joke perpetrated by someone with a morbid sense of humor?  If so, who besides Sandy Murphy would have had access to the house to put up the displays?

At another point Perkins observed that someone had disabled Binions burglar alarm by removing some of the wiring.  He didnt know whether Binion had done it himself, or whether someone else had disabled the system for his or her own, perhaps sinister, reasons.  One thing he was certain of was that this was a strange case that was becoming even stranger as their investigation progressed.

Det. James Buczek
Det. James Buczek (Gary C. King)

As they analyzed the scene where Binions body was found and discussed the manner in which it was discovered, the investigators felt that Binions body was left in a position that was inconsistent with the manner in which most such bodies are found.  It seemed to forty-two-year-old Detective James Buczek, a ten-year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who had been brought into the Binion case as the lead investigator, that Binions body and the crime scene as well had been cleaned prior to Binions death being reported.

The manner in which Binions body was found contrasted greatly to the manner in which other deaths by drug overdose they had investigated, whether accidental or suicide.  Usually in such cases there are signs of heavy purging, or vomiting, from the victim.  But in Binions case there were only traces of such evidence in the immediate area of his body.  They were also uncomfortable because of the way Binions body was laying when they arrived.  He was on his back, his head resting peacefully on a pillow, and his arms were lying straight at his sides. Strangely, it seemed like his body had been deliberately placed by someone in a mortuary-like position.  Often when someone has succumbed to death by poisoning or drug overdose, the victim goes into convulsions prior to death.  This didnt appear to be the case here, and they wondered why.  To Franks and Buczek, the scene looked like it had been staged.  Proving it, they knew, would be another matter.  Even though Binions sister, Becky, continued to urge them to treat her brothers death as a homicide, Franks and Buczek knew that the facts of the case at this point could not support such an investigation even though there were many circumstances which indeed appeared suspicious.  Determined to get the facts of the case, Jack Binion hired a private detective.

At another point the detectives noticed that the audiocassette tapes had been removed from the telephone answering devices inside the house and were missing.  Why, they wondered, would anyone remove the tapes from their answering machines when such devices can easily be turned off or disconnected?

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