This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," November 30, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, a cable primetime exclusive with the woman at the center of a Las Vegas murder mystery. The story began in 1998 when Ted Binion, a wealthy former casino mogul was found dead in his home. Cops soon closed in on his fiancée and her male friend. She's going to join us in a moment.
But first, let's bring you up to speed on the background of this sensational story. Joining us from Las Vegas is reporter Heidi Hayes of KVVU-TV. Heidi, tell us what happened in his murder case.
HEIDI HAYES, KVVU-TV REPORTER: Well, this all started about six years ago when Ted Binion, a casino heir to the Binion hotel industry was found dead in his Las Vegas home. This was back in 1998.
Initially, it was ruled just an accidental overdose. He was a heroin addict and he had lethal levels of heroin and Xanax in his system. It took six months for the coroner to change his cause of death to homicide and that's when Sandy Murphy and her lover Rick Tabish were finally charged and accused with his murder.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right and they went to trial, Heidi, and they were convicted, right?
HAYES: They were. Back in 2000 they went to trial. It was a lengthy trial, a very sensational trial. They were convicted. They spent four years in prison, all the while fighting those convictions. The Nevada State Supreme Court finally overturned those convictions last year leading to the new trial which just ended last week.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why were they given a new trial?
HAYES: It was a lot of flaws says the justices of the Supreme Court. They said they had an unfair trial filled with flaws, mainly technicalities but enough that they overturned those convictions and set a new trial up which led to their new trial again that ended last week.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, at the trial last week they were found not guilty. What did the jurors say after the trial?
HAYES: Well, again, this started out as an overdose case. No one thought that Ted Binion was actually murdered until six months later after a lengthy investigation. There were some things that kind of pointed in the direction of murder.
So, the jury said that they wanted to see a lot more medical evidence that Ted Binion was actually murdered. He was a heroin addict. Everyone knew that he took drugs and when he was found dead on his floor with lethal levels of those drugs in his system they just assumed that he died of an overdose.
Well, that's what the defense maintained during the whole trial that he just overdosed and the jury said they wanted to see more evidence of that. The prosecution called just one witness that said that he died of something… which basically is suffocation that he had those levels of drugs in his system but he was actually suffocated by Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Heidi, thank you very much.
Joining us from Los Angeles is Ted Binion's former fiancée Sandy Murphy who is joined by her attorney Michael Cristalli. Sandy, did you ever think when you stepped foot in prison that you would ever get out?
SANDY MURPHY, ACQUITTED OF TED BINION'S MURDER: Yes, I did.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
MURPHY: I believe in the justice system and I believe that it works and I knew that I was innocent and ultimately I thought that with hard work that I would be vindicated.
VAN SUSTEREN: In the second trial, Sandy, when the case went to the jury you were going to go through that whole deliberation process again what was it like for you as you waited for that second verdict?
MURPHY: I was petrified but I was excited to move forward and I was ready to have some sort of resolve one way or the other.
VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, Heidi said that the case was reversed the first time around by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of the state because it had flaws. She said technicalities. I never think constitutional issues are technicalities but anyway why did Sandy get a second trial?
MICHAEL CRISTALLI, ATTY. FOR TED BINION'S EX-FIANCEE: Thanks, Greta. Yes, I wanted to jump in there but I had to wait it out. It certainly wasn't a technicality. It was a due process reversal. There were other charges as they related to Rick Tabish, not involved in the murder charges at all that were allowed to be tried at the last proceeding.
And, as a result of that, the Supreme Court felt that there was prejudicial spill over on Sandy and also Rick and ruled that the case should be reversed on those grounds.
There was also a number of other issues in terms of the Supreme Court looking at the sufficiency of the evidence that was presented at the previous trial but they never had to reach that issue in terms of sufficiency.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sandy, what was Ted Binion like, I mean, you know, the decedent?
MURPHY: Teddy was a very intelligent man and he was charming and witty. He was very gregarious and extremely outgoing. He was a lot of fun to be with and he was very exciting.
VAN SUSTEREN: So why did the police think you killed him?
MURPHY: Well, I don't know that the police initially thought that I killed Teddy. I think that the Binion estate wanted to ultimately disinherit me and the only way to do that was to create or orchestrate an investigation surrounding around — surrounding myself and as a result of my relationship with Rick Tabish he was sort of dragged into the mix.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Tell the viewers, you know, what's your relationship with Rick Tabish or what was it then?
MURPHY: Well, he was a friend of Teddy's and then he ultimately became a friend of mine and I had a few indiscretions with him in the summer of 1998 and now, you know, I wish him well but we don't have any sort of relationship one way or another.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sandy, what was prison like for you?
MURPHY: Prison is horrible. It's like living in the middle of a government housing project in the ghetto with generally people that are uneducated and lack a lot of discipline. Anger is a common way of life in prison.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Sandy and Michael I want both of you to stand by because we've got much more to discuss after the break.
And later, a shocking story caught on tape, an Atlanta woman claims she was ripped out of her car and body slammed by a police officer after he told her to move her car at the airport. Tonight, the police officer is telling a different story. That's ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: We're back with more on the Ted Binion murder and the overturned murder conviction of his fiancée Sandy Murphy. Sandy is back with her lawyer Michael Cristalli.
Michael, Sandy says she has faith in the justice system and that she thought she'd get out but she spent four years in prison. I mean did you have that faith? I mean convictions don't usually get reversed.
CRISTALLI: Yes, I agree, Greta, but in this case I really did believe wholeheartedly that we were going to be successful in this case. The evidence clearly, if a jury examined this evidence and that's what I told them all the way through the course of this trial, especially during closing arguments that if they stayed true to the evidence, if they looked at the evidence, if they concentrated on the evidence, they would have to return the only verdict possible in this case and that would be a verdict of not guilty.
VAN SUSTEREN: Then what happened the first time around if it seems — you make it sound so simple? What happened the first time around?
CRISTALLI: Well, I wasn't there the first time around.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I know but you read the transcript I'm sure.
CRISTALLI: I did absolutely. Well, one of the things that happened is that the state had some difficulties this time around with their witnesses. The estate of Ted Binion paid in excess of $100,000 to witnesses that testified at the previous trial some of the witnesses that they relied heavily on for their first conviction.
I think the jury had a bad taste in their mouth this time around for witnesses who got paid an extraordinary amount of money. Some of the witnesses who never saw the type of money in their life that they received this time around.
I think that certainly influenced the jury's decision and probably caused them to disregard that testimony completely, which made them focus entirely on the medical evidence and the medical evidence weighed extraordinarily in our favor. I think it was nine to one in terms of medical experts that testified that Ted Binion died of a Xanax and heroin overdose.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sandy, when you heard the words "not guilty," what was it like?
MURPHY: I was relieved. It's been a long time coming, six years, and even though I felt sort of like a winner in that I had been vindicated I still lost four and a half years of my life and my home and my animals and everything that I've ever collected over one's life and I just was really relieved.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what do you do now, Sandy? I mean where do you start?
MURPHY: Well, I move on. Freedom is a good...
VAN SUSTEREN: Like how?
MURPHY: ...a good place to start. Well, I'm working full time and, you know, I would like to hopefully have a family of my own someday and I do normal things. I'm a regular girl and I'm just trying to move forward in my life.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think there are other women who were in prison with you who were wrongfully convicted?
MURPHY: Oh, I think there's thousands of people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes that they didn't commit but I believe ultimately if you fight hard enough and long enough and you believe in yourself and you have the will to survive that justice will prevail and it did in this case and I'm very grateful for that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. One of the issues, Tabish is still in prison associated with an extortion problem from Binion, right, am I right Sandy?
VAN SUSTEREN: All right just so we get this cleared...
CRISTALLI: Actually that's — that's not true, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: ...get this cleared up. OK.
VAN SUSTEREN: He's in prison. What's he in prison for Sandy?
MURPHY: He's currently serving time on some charges relating to Leo Casey (ph) incident which surround the extortion charge, so you're correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. Did you have anything to do with that or not?
MURPHY: No, absolutely not.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, I just wanted to make sure I was totally clear on that. All right so, Sandy, how long have you been out of prison?
MURPHY: I was released December 22nd of 2003 on bail.
VAN SUSTEREN: And now, of course, you have a not guilty verdict in your case. Congratulations to both of you.
MURPHY: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sandy and Michael thank you both very much and best of luck, Sandy.
MURPHY: Thank you.
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