Binion figure Tabish granted parole

Rick Tabish, who gained notoriety as a suspect in the 1998 death of former Las Vegas casino executive Ted Binion, could be released from prison as early as April 2.

The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners announced Wednesday that Tabish, 44, has been granted parole. His younger brother described the news as "pretty wonderful."

"The family’s extremely happy to have him home," Greg Tabish said.

Rick Tabish and his lover, Sandy Murphy, were convicted and later acquitted of murdering Binion. He has been serving time for burglary and grand larceny convictions that stemmed from the theft of Binion’s $7 million silver stash. Murphy has completed her prison sentence for her role in the theft and has been living in California.

David Smith, a parole hearing examiner, said the Nevada parole board granted Rick Tabish’s release to Montana, subject to the approval of authorities in that state.

"They will investigate his release plans, and if he qualifies, then on or after April 2 he can be released to Montana for supervision there," Smith said.

Greg Tabish, 40, and his parents, Frank and Lani, live in Missoula, Mont. Greg Tabish said that "everything’s up in the air," but that his brother probably will live with their parents.

"It’s great to get great news for a change," he said.

He attended his brother’s latest parole hearing, on Jan. 13, the fifth for Rick Tabish. Greg Tabish said his parents usually attended the hearings but could not make it to the last one.

The hearing was conducted via videoconference from the parole board’s Carson City office to Ely State Prison, where Rick Tabish is incarcerated. Smith said Tabish has been imprisoned in Nevada since October 2000.

According to the order granting parole, the board gave three reasons for deciding to release him:

• "The parole guideline recommends that parole be granted, and there are no serious reasons to deviate from the guideline recommendation."

• "There is community and/or family support."

• "The inmate has stable release plans."

Smith said Rick Tabish received consecutive sentences of one to five years for his burglary and grand larceny convictions.

Murphy was living with Binion, her boyfriend, in September 1998 when the gaming heir was found dead in his Las Vegas home. Authorities initially suspected that Binion had succumbed to a drug overdose.

But two days after Binion died, authorities caught Rick Tabish, who was Murphy’s secret lover, and two other men digging up Binion’s silver fortune at an underground vault in Pahrump.

Authorities charged Murphy and Tabish with murder, alleging the pair had suffocated Binion. They were convicted in 2000, but the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the convictions in 2003. A second jury acquitted them of the murder charges in 2004 but upheld the charges related to the silver theft.

Rick Tabish’s wife, Mary Jo, divorced him after he was convicted of murder in the high-profile case. The couple had two children.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

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