Scuffle involves Murphy, Behnen

An altercation involving Sandy Murphy and Benny Behnen, grandson of Horseshoe founder Benny Binion, erupted at Piero's Italian Cuisine late Monday.

By the time two unidentified NBA coaches broke up the melee, Murphy had a clump of hair ripped from her scalp as she was trying to escape her assailant.

The incident occurred about 10 p.m., the night before Murphy appeared in District Court seeking to gain possession of part of the estate of the late Ted Binion, Behnen's uncle and the man Murphy was accused of killing in 1998.

An eyewitness said words were exchanged when Murphy's party and Behnen's group were seated at nearby tables in Piero's most popular bar area.

When scuffling broke out, Murphy moved away from the trouble and was near the kitchen exit when she was cornered by a young man.

"Sandy wanted to get out of there," said her attorney, Herb Sachs. "Behnen saw her, targeted her, and punched her, kicked her and grabbed her hair."

Fred Glusman, owner of Piero's, confirmed that Murphy and Behnen were involved in the melee, which occurred in the area where scenes from the movie "Casino" were filmed.

"Sandy got hit. Don't know who hit her, it all happened so fast," said Glusman, who was not at the eatery at the time.

"Three fights broke out. It was like old wild, wild West," added Glusman. "Some NBA coaches broke it up,"

When police arrived, "it was all over," Glusman said.

Behnen could not be reached for comment. Murphy, reached by phone in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, had no comment.

Murphy, a former stripper, and her one-time lover, Rick Tabish, were charged in 1999 with drugging and killing Ted Binion in a plot to obtain his $7 million in silver.

They were convicted in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison. Their convictions were overturned by the state high court. Murphy and Tabish were acquitted of murder after a second trial in 2004.

After Murphy's hearing Tuesday before Judge Elizabeth Halverson, Murphy approached William Fuller, her 80-something benefactor who paid many of her legal fees.

"She kissed him and said, 'Did you hear what happened?' " according to Review-Journal reporter K.C. Howard. "Then she pulled a clump of hair out of her purse and said, 'This is mine.' "

It's not the first time Behnen was involved in a battle at Piero's.

In August 2000, he was allegedly in a fight with high-stakes gambler Bob Stupak over Stupak's attempt to cash some casino chips at Binion's Horseshoe. Behnen's mother, Becky Behnen, operated the Horseshoe after Ted Binion was barred from running it.

Piero's was the scene of a federal raid in 2005, when agents, one armed with a submachine gun, stormed the tony restaurant and arrested retired New York City cops Louis Eppolito and Steve Caracappa. They were jailed in connection with the murder of Gambino and Bonanno crime family associate Eddie Lino.


Six-time Grammy winner Celine Dion, whose next English album is due out in the fall, has been working on the project in the Palms recording studios.


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