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27 July 2000

By Jeff German

July 27, 2000

The reputed mob associates who killed underworld figure Herbie Blitzstein in 1997 once plotted to kill gaming executive Ted Binion with a heroin overdose, a newly disclosed FBI report says.

The seven-page report, written last year by FBI agent Charles Maurer, was obtained after the Binion murder trial by lawyers for Sandy Murphy, who was convicted of killing the gambling figure.

Murphy and her lover, Rick Tabish, were found guilty of pumping Binion with heroin and Xanax and suffocating him on Sept. 17, 1998. They have contended Binion died of a self-induced drug overdose.

Attorneys John Momot and Gerald Scotti attached a copy of the FBI report to their motion Wednesday for a new trial for Murphy. The lawyers charged that the report and other documents related to the mob murder plot should have been disclosed to them prior to the murder trial.

In the report, Maurer disclosed that he obtained details about the Binion scheme from Antone Davi, one of the Blitzstein triggermen, during an April 10, 1999, debriefing. At the time Davi had agreed to plead guilty to shooting Blitzstein, a Binion friend and former top lieutenant of slain Chicago mob kingpin Anthony Spilotro.

Maurer had learned of Davi's involvement in the plot two years earlier prior to Binion's death from Ron Mortensen, a former Metro Police officer convicted in a drive-by slaying, who once shared a cell with Davi at the Clark County Detention Center.

Mortensen's information was contained in a July 18, 1997, Maurer report obtained by the Sun last year.

In Maurer's 1999 report, Davi is quoted as saying the subject of killing Binion was brought up by reputed mob associate Alfred Mauriello some time after Blitzstein's Jan. 6, 1997, slaying.

Mauriello pleaded guilty last year to arranging the Blitzstein hit, which was carried out as part of a plot by the Los Angeles mob to take over Las Vegas street rackets.

Davi reported that Mauriello had told him and Blitzstein's other convicted shooter, Richard Friedman, that Binion had offered $50,000 to kill his sister, Horseshoe Club President Becky Behnen.

"Binion later changed his mind, and a plot was hatched to rob and kill (Ted) Binion," Maurer wrote. "Mauriello told Friedman and Davi that Binion will be robbed and a door to his house would be left open so Davi and Friedman could kill him.

"Mauriello said Binion was a heroin user, and he gave Binion's address to Friedman and Davi. Friedman came up with a plan to use a tazer (stun gun) on Binion and give him an overdose of heroin while he was under the influence of the tazer."

Maurer said Davi told him that a stun gun recovered from Friedman's apartment during the FBI's investigation into Blitzstein's murder was to be used on Binion.

"No where in the FBI report is it suggested that Mr. Davi's report of the plot to kill Ted Binion is not credible," Momot and Scotti wrote.

The lawyers said prosecutors "must be held accountable" for failing to disclose to the defense credible evidence in the hands of the FBI pointing to others who may have had plans to kill Binion.

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