LAS VEGAS - While ducking homicide detectives, Sandy Murphy talked to a top gambling agent about her boyfriend's death hours before his funeral last year, according to a published report.
The Las Vegas Sun reported Tuesday that 27-year-old Murphy, who later was charged with killing Binion, told Jerry Markling, the Gaming Control Board's deputy chief of enforcement, that she believed the well-known gambling figure had killed himself.
''Murphy stated that 'Teddy started using drugs again,' '' Markling said in a confidential intelligence report obtained by the Sun. ''She said that the only thing in life that he really wanted was his gaming license and that he was severely depressed about being denied.
''She said that 'Teddy did this (suicide) on his own' and that he was 'very, very depressed.' ''
The comments were made on Sept. 22, 1998, five days after Binion's slaying and long before prosecutors brought in an experienced pathologist who concluded Binion had been suffocated.
Murphy had reported discovering Binion's body at his home on Sept. 17, 1998, next to an empty bottle of the prescription sedative, Xanax. An autopsy later found Xanax and heroin in his stomach.
Homicide detectives learned that Binion had returned to using heroin in the months after his gaming license was revoked because of ties to organized crime figures. The day before his death, he had obtained a bottle of Xanax and 12 balloons of heroin.
Following an investigation, police charged Murphy and her reported lover, 34-year-old Rick Tabish, on June 24 with killing Binion.
Detectives subsequently concluded that Binion's killers pumped his body with the drugs Binion had obtained, suffocated him, and then staged the death scene at his home.
One source close to the murder case described Murphy's statements to Markling as self-serving and part of an attempt to set up her defense.