The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Panel Discusses Peterson Trial; Interview with Sandy Murphy

Aired December 1, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a jury of 12 must decide Scott Peterson's penalty. How painful must this be for Laci's mom, Sharon Rocha, and Scott's mom, Jackie Peterson.
With us CNN's Ted Rowlands, inside the courtroom this week on top of this story from day one.

Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, and Forensic psychologist, Dr. Michael Wellner.

And then sex, drugs, murder, even buried treasure, inside the sensational Ted Binion murder case in Las Vegas. With Sandy Murphy, the ex-stripper, convicted with a secret lover of murdering her boyfriend, the Vegas casino heir Ted Binion, and then acquitted last week in a second trial.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We begin with the Peterson trial in its penalty phase. The defense presenting it's side today. Joining us in Redwood City is Ted Rowlands and in New York Dr. Robi Ludwig and Dr. Michael Wellner.

Ted, what happened today?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today it was the defense turn to start their case in an effort to try to convince this jury convicted Scott Peterson of first degree murder, not to kill him. And the defense came out with Pat Harris handling the opening statement rather than Mark Geragos. And in the opening statement, he told jurors that they are going to learn about Scott Peterson's life, his entire life, not just the five months they had learned about so far in the trial, but the 30 years of his life. The first witness was Scott Peterson's father, Lee Peterson. He was on the stand for almost three hours, and he detailed not only Scott's life but his own life.

To give the jury a sense of who Scott Peterson is and who the Peterson family is. And where this young man came from and his roots. Lee talked about Scott as a baby, saying he was a perfect baby, and from then on he basically talked about Scott's entire life from a father's perspective. At one point he said, I love my son very dearly, I'm scared about what is going on here and scared at the possibility basically that his son is facing the death penalty. Mark Geragos didn't do the opening statements, but he did come into the fray late in the date and interview one of the witnesses, Susan Cadilo (ph) Scott Peterson's sister. Again, a lot of the same type of testimony, talking about Scott growing up. An average guy, a great guy.

This is stark contrast to what we heard yesterday. Today, the mood was somber and all told sad I think you could characterize it as. Yesterday was charged with raw emotion while the prosecution put on its case, asking this jury to convict Scott Peterson to death. The most compelling by far testimony that we have heard to date came from Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha. She broke down a number of times on the stand. And at one point pointed at Scott Peterson and faced him, accusing him of not telling the family and letting them live through this nightmare while they were searching for Laci Peterson.

A lot of the jury broke down and folks in the courtroom broke down and wept because it was so emotional. The judge today said they expect this to go until Monday. And at that point, this jury will have to make the decision on whether or not Scott Peterson should die or spend the rest of his life in prison.

KING: What can you tell was the jury reaction to the father's testimony?

ROWLANDS: A lot of jurors -- all the jurors were listening. They were listening to a very long story. One juror in particular, juror seven, was nodding along and laughed at a story about Scott being a youngster at his mother's dress shop, crawling around the floor. He bit a woman on the toe one time. She outwardly laughed. None of the other jurors did laugh when that happened. But they definitely paid attention throughout. And I think that the message was conveyed to the jury that this guy had a life before he was in the media and his wife was missing. And it's been a long life, a 30-year life.

KING: What was Laci's mother -- was she in the courtroom? If so, what was her reaction to the father's testimony?

ROWLANDS: She was not in the courtroom at the beginning of the day. She came in later. There was no noticeable reaction from her. The Rocha family was in the courtroom. The rest of the Rocha family, Brent and Amy and other family members. And throughout this trial when they have listened to things contrary to what they've believed, they've done a good job of being very stoic and just taking it in and not making overt reactions. That was the case today.

KING: This program is not going to delve into what should happen to Scott Peterson, that's up to 12 people. But we are going to look at what it must be like.

Dr. Ludwig, what must it be like for those who have to make this judgment?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It's a very difficult decision for these jurors to make. Even if they think that Scott is guilty, via reasonable doubt, given the nature of human relationships you never know for sure exactly what goes on, especially in a case that's all circumstantial. There is no smoking gun. There is no linking evidence. So there has to be lingering doubt. Which means that every juror must be thinking, yes, you know he probably did it. We stand by our decision.

However, there's a possibility that maybe something else happened here. And so the jurors are asked to play God without knowing 100 percent what actually went on, which is very, very tough. In fact, in some cases, jurors are instructed, if you have any lingering doubt at all, you should not be sending this man to the death penalty. But when studies are done on these kinds of cases, jurors sometimes lean in the direction of the death penalty. Because they don't really believe that life without parole exists. And if there is a fear that if someone is sent to prison with life without parole, that ultimately they will get parole and can be returned to the streets. So it's a tough decision.

KING: Dr. Wellner, also, isn't it gut-wrenching too in a sense play God?


KING: I don't hear Dr. Wellner.

WELLNER: There's no doubt from my professional experience as a forensic psychiatrist that jurors who are part of a capital case go through an ordeal. They are forced to pay attention to the most dramatic visual and verbal evidence. They can't avert their eyes, they can't close their ears, they've got to take it all in. And it's a pummeling that goes on. Because both sides really want to have maximum impact on the jury and the jury just has to sit there and take it.

For your viewers, I would liken it to the experience of the ordeal of people who had to go and clean up 9/11. Who had to take in the sights and the sounds and the smells day after day, hour after hour, with little relief, and recognizing a certain sense of awesome power. I think what they are exposed to and the pressures that they are under puts them in a position that they are not equipped to deal with. And people forget about juries after these big murder cases. But in many instances, they're haunted by their experience. To some degree, if it's a close-knit jury it helps them deal with the process. But this is an ordeal for them, an unspoken ordeal that many don't appreciate unless they've actually been through it themselves.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, the mother of the victim wants him to die. What must that be like?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, : This is a woman who has been betrayed in the worst possible way. Nobody wants to be a part of the I lost my child to murder club. Even if everything goes right and Scott is sentenced to death, and this is what she wants, she will still be left with a hollow feeling. Because in the end, nothing can make up for it. No punishment can make up for the extraordinary loss this woman this experiencing and will continue to experience in the years to come. There's nothing natural about murder. And so the grieving process is not natural either. I mean, this is a woman who should have been enjoying her daughter's first experience with motherhood and being a grandparent. And that is forever lost. And unforgivable, and nothing can make that up.

KING: We'll be right back with more with Ted Roland, Dr. Ludwig, and Dr. Michael Wellner, then we'll get into the incredible story of Sandy Murphy and a killing in Las Vegas. She was just found not guilty. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: Soon after Laci went missing, I made a promise to her, that if she's been harmed we will seek justice for her and Conner and make sure that that person responsible for their deaths will be punished. I can only hope that the sound of Laci's voice begging for her life and begging for the life of her unborn child is heard over and over and over again in the mind of that person for the rest of his life.



KING: By the way we referred to Dr. Michael Wellner as a psychologist, he is a forensic psychiatrist and chairman of the forensic panel. Ted Rowlands, what was Scott Peterson's reaction when his mother-in-law was testifying?

ROWLANDS: I was in an area where I couldn't see that. Nobody really documented any reaction. The way the courtroom is situated, Peterson has his back to the gallery and it's very difficult unless he's making a movement to see any real reaction. Some people have said that they saw him yesterday wiping a tear at some point during the testimony. Unclear -- that really hasn't been verified. I did not see that. Today he apparently laughed. Some people said he chuckled a few times when his sister was telling old stories about them growing up. It's very difficult to quantify his reaction. I'm sure the jury is seeing facial reaction and evaluating it as they watch.

KING: Dr. Wellner, what must it be like for Scott's father to have testified? Because he loved his daughter-in-law.

WELLNER: Not only that, I'm sure he loved his grandson on the way. What happens in situations like this, in my experience, obviously it's particular to the individual. But any parent recognizes that it's his duty to support his child. And when a parent makes that decision to stay involved, parents, family, readily go into a bunker mentality. If there's any sense of awareness on his part that Scott might have been responsible, that Scott was responsible for this killing, now is not the time that he's going to engage that. Now he is focused on supporting his son, dealing with the here and now, and then dealing with the possibility, indeed the certitude of his son having killed his grandson at some other point in the future.

KING: Does Scott's mother, Robbie, have a link to Laci's mother?

LUDWIG: A link emotionally? Well, she has a horrible experience. Number one, she loves her son. So she wants to protect him from the ultimate horror that can happen to him. She doesn't know the murderer Scott who killed his wife and future son. All she knows is the beautiful boy that said, mommy, I love you. The good child who gave her a favorite gift during the holidays. This was her pride and joy. So not only does she have to deal with potentially losing her son, she already lost a beloved daughter-in-law and a grandchild. But she also has the glaring eye of the media that is not supporting her and basically saying, you did a horrible job. Look at the person you raised. You are a horrible parent. Not only does she deal with a triple potential loss, but also she's being judged. So she has it very, very tough.

KING: Isn't this, Dr. Wellner, an almost Solomonesque decision you're asking people to make here?

WELLNER: I don't think so. It's a difficult decision but it's made more difficult by the competitive dramatics and the theater of the event. There are many issues and many policies that people have to make a decision about, and when their emotional heartstrings are tugged and they are manipulated, the decision ventures away from facts and into visceral emotional aspects of themselves and their own bias. People can engage a decision like a death penalty and a homicide case in a much more objective way and a less painful way, but the process allows for an emotional dumping on jurors. Now, that's part of the process. And what is at stake, perhaps it's the right way to be. But I do believe people can make that decision. It is a very difficult one. But if we had a national referendum on the death penalty, we'd probably learn more about just the comfort level of our citizens in each respective state about whether we should even be making these kinds of decisions.

KING: The general thinking is there's more and more people opposed in polls whereas years ago, there was majority, a large majority in favor. Ted, how do they know it's going to be Monday?

ROWLANDS: They don't. The judge said the jury should expect to work at least through Monday before getting the case. There's a chance that the defense could finish up on Friday. But the court announced that Friday's going to be a half day so Monday looks like the day this jury will get this case. A lot of courtroom watchers, legal analysts think this is part of the defense strategy too, to stretch out the amount of time between Sharon Rocha's emotional plea in the courtroom and the time that the jury actually starts to deliberate. Pat Harris today said you're going to learn a lot about Scott Peterson. It's going to take a week possibly. This is a man's life that is at stake. He's in our hands right now next week. His life is going to be in your hands so please listen to what we have to say. And at the end, we think you'll think that this is a life worth saving.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, would you guess on your experience, a long deliberation?

LUDWIG: Oh, gosh. It's so hard to say. They already do have a sense of this person and this case. It's not clear. One thing I would add though is that each juror will make a psychological assessment of Scott Peterson and consider his past. He does not have a criminal past. And I don't know if people will view him as a danger to society. That would have to enter into their final decision.

KING: The decision must be, as with the trial, unanimous. We thank Ted Rowlands, Dr. Ludwig, Dr. Wellner. We'll be calling on them again. When we come back, the extraordinary story that occurred in Las Vegas, Sandy Murphy's with us with her attorney. They're next, don't go away.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, both here in Los Angeles, Sandy Murphy, the former girlfriend of Las Vegas casino heir Ted Binion. Last week she and her former lover Rick Tabish, were acquitted of murder in connection with Binion's 1998 death.

Murphy and Tabish were initially were found guilty of killing Binion, but that 2000 conviction was overturned in 2003, leading to a retrial that ended in the acquittal. Michael Cristalli, attorney for Sandy Murphy, very successful at this trial, is with us as well.

Just quickly, Lonny Ted Binion, known as Ted, was heir to Billions Horseshoe Casino, and admitted heroin addict, was found dead in his home in Las Vegas on September 17, 1998. His untimely death began an even bigger story when Binion's associate Rick Tabish was found digging up a secret silver vault owned by Ted Binion.

Binion's live-in girlfriend Sandy Murphy and her on the side lover Tabish were arrested 9 months later, charged with murder as well as a variety of conspiracy, robbery and burglary charges. They were originally convicted and then that was overturned.

And now she was not convicted of murder, she was acquitted. The jury convicted them of three other counts, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary and grand larceny. There will be sentencing January 28. Mr. Tabish is still in jail. Ms. Murphy has been out on bail.

You did spend time in jail, though, right Sandy?


KING: How long were you in?

MURPHY: Four and a half years.

KING: Did you ever expect the appeal to work?


KING: Give us the gist of this. First, the story. You were the girlfriend of Ted Binion.

MURPHY: Correct.

KING: And you met Rick Tabish in this process?

MURPHY: Well, Rick Tabish was initially Teddy's friend. Then at some point, we became friends through his association with Teddy.

KING: You never married Teddy?

MURPHY: No, I did not.

KING: And then you became a lover of Rick?


KING: What happened?

MURPHY: He was Ted's friend and confidant. and then he became my friend. And we developed a relationship. And at that time, Ted was abusing drugs. And I became dependent on my friendship with Rick. And through that process, I had some issues with some indiscretions.

KING: You fell in love with Rick?


KING: Never in love?


KING: But were you -- did you think because Ted was an addict drew you to Rick?

MURPHY: I think that all that goes along with living with a heroin addict when you don't use drugs, or approve of that sort of lifestyle, is a very difficult thing. And when there's abuse in a relationship, I think sometimes you seek help from others. And he just happened to be the person who was there.

KING: Where were you when Ted was killed?

MURPHY: I don't believe that Teddy was killed.

KING: What do you believe?

MURPHY: Well I believe that he was a heroin addict and that he abused drugs and died as a result of it.

KING: How did they ever show murder, Michael?

MICHAEL CRISTALLI, ATTORNEY FOR SANDY MURPHY AT RE-TRIAL: Well, they didn't show murder this time around, obviously.

KING: Wouldn't the autopsy show overdose?

CRISTALLI: The autopsy did in fact show overdose. The initial autopsy that was performed by the medical examiner in Las Vegas, Dr. Larry Simms, made a determination that the cause of death was a heroin and Xanax overdose. He had lethal levels of heroin and Xanax in his system.

KING: Why was there a murder charge? CRISTALLI: Because the estate of Ted Binion hired private investigators, in our opinion, to create a case against Sandy and Rick, in an effort to disinherit her.

KING: And how were they supposed to have committed the murder?

CRISTALLI: Well, there was a multiple theories that were proffered by the state of Nevada. One of which was proffered by their expert, Dr. Bodden, which was a birking theory, that Ted was suffocated.

There was another theory that they proffered that they alleged that there was a forced ingestion of drugs, for which the medical evidence clearly demonstrated that there could not have been a forced ingestion of either heroin or Xanax.

KING: How did the -- why did you win the appeal?

CRISTALLI: First of all, I didn't win the appeal. The appeal was done by Alan Dershowitz, Professor Dershowitz.

KING: One of the great appeal lawyers in the world.

CRISTALLI: That's correct.

KING: Won on what grounds?

CRISTALLI: There was a number of issues the Nevada Supreme Court reversed on. One of which was charges that were alleged against Rick Tabish that had nothing to do with the death of Mr. Ted Binion, had nothing to do with Sandy. And the Supreme Court felt that there was constitutional due process of rights violated. And as such overturned.

KING: Shouldn't have been introduced.

CRISTALLI: That's correct.

And there was also hearsay evidence that was introduced that shouldn't have been introduced as well. There were -- in addition to that, which most people don't realize as it relates to this case, is that there was a sufficiency argument made, the fact that there was insufficient evidence alleged by the state of Nevada, which was never gotten to. The Nevada Supreme Court never had to get to that issue.

KING: When they pronounced you guilty, and you in your heart know you didn't do it, you may have had some problems and there are other areas you may have been involved in but you didn't do a murder. What was that like?

MURPHY: I kind of already had a gut instinct that things weren't going well. I was prepared to hear the words guilty. And I was ready to move forward, meaning hiring legal counsel to prepare a defense, to file an appeal. And ultimately that's what I did.

KING: Was Rick prepared for it too? MURPHY: I'm not sure. I was in county jail at the time. So was he. And we didn't communicate a whole lot.

KING: Have you been in touch with each other?

MURPHY: On and off through our attorneys. Because we have a joint defense. But other than that, no.

KING: You're not friends anymore? Or are you?

MURPHY: No, we don't communicate one way or the other. I mean, I wish him the best. And I have no ill will for him.

KING: Why is he still in jail?

CRISTALLI: On the charges that were unrelated -- the charges that the reversal was based on, unrelated to Ted Binion's death, or the alleged murder charges. So he's still doing time on those.

KING: What's the Silver story, Sandy?

MURPHY: Well, the silver, how it originated was Teddy had a vast collection of silver coins, miscellaneous bars and some other items that were stored at the Horseshoe. And when he lost his gaming license, Jack Binion, who was his oldest brother, had made a deal with his sister for her to regain control of the Horseshoe. And I believe the date would have been July 2 that she was taking over. So he had a certain period of time, a window of time to remove all of his personal belongings from the Horseshoe and find somewhere else to store them.

The silver happened to be one of those things. He entrusted Rick Tabish to build a vault for him, in Pahrump, which I was not a part of. And ultimately was excavated and built. And the silver was moved from the Horseshoe to my Palomino residence and then ultimately to the property off Highway 160 in Pahrump.

KING: You were not involved in the taking of the silver?

MURPHY: No, I actually -- I was not there when they put the silver in the vault, and I wasn't there when they they removed it. I wasn't sure of the exact location of where it was.

KING: We'll be right back with Sandy Murphy and Michael Cristalli. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jury in the above entitled case find the defendant Sandra Rene Murphy as follows: count 1, conspiracy to commit murder and or robbery, we find the defendant not guilty. Count 2, murder, open murder, we find the defendant not guilty. Count 3, robbery, we find the defendant not guilty. Count 4, conspiracy to commit burglary, and/or larceny, we find the defendant guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and/or larceny. Count 5, burglary, we find the defendant guilty of burglary. Count 6, grand larceny, we find the defendant guilty of grand larceny (END VIDEO CLIP)



BECKY BEHNEN, TED BINION'S SISTER: I am a little disappointed but justice has been served and so be it. They've served time, and what can I say?


KING: Lets (UNINTELLIGIBLE) everybody now. Staying with us is Sandy Murphy, the former girlfriend of Las Vegas casino heir, Ted Binion, first convicted and then acquitted of his murder, which as it turns out they insist was not a murder.

Also in Los Angeles is Michael Cristalli, the attorney for Sandy Murphy.

Joining us in Los Angeles is Mary Jane Stevenson. Mary Jane covered the first trial of Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish for Court TV.

In Las Vegas, Cindy Cesare, for KLAS-TV. She covered the second trial and also conducted an interview with Rick Tabish. We'll show you a little piece.

And back with us from New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig.

Dr. Ludwig, what do you make of this, just over the top.

LUDWIG: Well, Ted Binion, definitely was a person who was very self-destructive. And it was just a matter of time before he ended up dead. He played Russian roulette with his life. And what we know about drug addicts is that it's not so uncommon for them to take it a step too far. He hung out with the wrong crowd. He was looking for a good time. And his choices in life were really very bad. And so I was not surprised when I saw a combination of xanax and heroin. With xanax, a side effect can be forgetfulness. And with heroin, it shuts down the respiratory or breathing system.

So you get a combination of those two drugs and it can very easily lead to death.

KING: Mary Jane, what were your opinions at the first trial?

STEVENSON: The first trial was so sensational. It got national news coverage. It was just -- and one of the things about it was, there seemed to be this sort of anger towards Sandy Murphy by the whole community. Whether it was generated by Ted Binion's family or by the media or the fact that she had worked at a strip club and just the way the media covered it. But there was this sort of -- there was no sympathy for Sandy Murphy. And I think things turned around by the second trial. Now, you saw a young woman who had spent time in prison, whose conviction had been overturned. And it was a much different story the second time. KING: Did you question the conviction?

STEVENSON: I have to say I was surprised that she was convicted. But then when she got acquitted I was surprised by that too, really because most people never get their convictions overturned. But especially because the jury had been out for eight days. It was a very long deliberation. There were problems during the deliberations in the first trial. And it was a really tough case, Larry, because of the fact that Ted Binion had ordered the drugs the night before. He ordered them himself. And it was really tough to prove the cause of death in that case. And I think that's what happened the second time around.

KING: Were you hurt a lot by Michael Baden's reputation?

STEVENSON: In the first trial the jurors believed Michael Baden. And in the second trail, it was really smart of the defense attorneys to bring in just a parade of medical witnesses.

KING: Did Baden testified again?

STEVENSON: Yes. And this parade of witnesses discredited him. And the jurors again said that the medical evidence was crucial. But that in the second trial, the medical evidence gave them the reasonable doubt that they needed to acquit.

KING: Cindy, what were your thoughts at the second trial?

CESARE: That was the case, they brought on nine medical experts to go against the testimony of Dr. Michael Baden. And the jury stated after that they had too much reasonable doubt to convict Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish this time around. And that was basically because they said it was nine to one. And they just had too much reasonable doubt. They also said that they were impressed that Rick Tabish took the stand in his own defense this time. But they didn't believe everything he said. So the tactic of not putting Sandy on the stand may have helped. It's hard to tell.

KING: You conduct add jail house interview with Rick Tabish.

Let's watch a clip and then I want ask you something. Here's Cindy with Rick Tabish.


RICK TABISH, ACQUITTED OF MURDERING TED BINION: I hope she gets on with her life. I hope she finds happiness. I've always -- I was always in it with her, because I believed in her innocence. She did nothing wrong. She's not capable of killing a cricket, let alone a human being. And I just hope that -- I hope she gets on with her life and does something with herself. She's a good kid. I call her a kid, she's 32-years-old. That's how I've always looked at her. But yes, she stole my heart. She's just -- I believed in her innocence that much. And she's just that sincere of a young lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Cindy, what do you make of the robbery conviction?

CESARE: I think as Michael Cristalli and Sandy Murphy said, that the jury compromised. I think that, you know, they were 8-4. They believed there was reasonable doubt in the murder. But they felt that in the end, be Rick Tabish should not have been digging up Ted Binion's silver at all. That it wasn't his place to digging it up, even though there may have been instructions from Ted Binion if I die, you should go and dig it up for me. That the jury said that he should have known better.

That it was an estate case, that he shouldn't have been out there digging it up. And you know, Sandy may be able to fight this and be successful. Because there was not a lot of evidence that she was involved. But the jury said the phone calls between the two while Rick was digging up the silver, as well as her fingerprints being on the inventory of the silver, was some doubt for them. But I think that she can fight it. And I think that they could be successful with overturning it even before sentencing.

KING: What were your fingerprints doing on it?

MURPHY: I'm the one, per Teddy's request, and I think everybody a knows this at the Horseshoe, it's all monitored on videotape, was in charge of the project of the appraisal of the silver before it was removed from the Horseshoe. So I'm the one who prepared the list for the appraisal. I made an inventory.

KING: Cindy -- I mean, Mary Jane, do you know where the silver is?

CESARE: I don't know where the silver is now.

KING: Does anyone?

CESARE: No, I don't think anyone knows.

KING: Michael, do you know?

CRISTALLI: I think the silver went back to the estate of Ted Binion, which is now Bonnie Binion, Ted Binion's daughter. Whether or not they auctioned it off, I don't know.

KING: Does, in your opinion Michael, does Sandy have a civil case?


KING: Against family, somebody?

CRISTALLI: Yes, I think she does. I think she's entitled to inherit under the terms of the will. We haven't made a decision in terms of what we're going to do...

KING: She's in the will?

CRISTALLI: Yes, she is.

KING: We'll take a break and come back and include some phone calls as well on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

TONY SERRA, RICK TABISH'S ATTORNEY: Did you have anything to do with the death of Ted Binion?

TABISH: Absolutely and unequivocally, not. I did not kill Ted Binion.

SERRA: On that date did you touch Ted Binion?

TABISH: No, I did not.

SERRA: On that date did you see Ted Binion?

TABISH: No I did not.




MURPHY: And I don't want to ask the court for anything. Because I didn't do anything wrong. And I don't think I should even be here to begin with. But I'm just going to do the best I can to move on. And I just want everyone to know that I love Teddy with all my heart. And I have never hurt or stolen anything from anyone ever in my life and I never will. And no matter what happens here, I'll get along.


KING: Dr. Ludwig, before we take a wall, we have learned then that medical examiners can make mistakes.

LUDWIG: Sure. There's no perfection when it comes to science. And it's hard sometimes to make heads or tails out of what goes on forensically, especially when it comes to a drug addict case. But I think the initial call, which was an overdose, was in fact accurate. And again, really not surprising.

KING: Pahrump, Nevada, hello.

CALLER: Hello, I'm a big fan. Sandy, my question for you is -- I've always believed in your innocence. And I just wanted to know what you think of the Las Vegas justice system and Jack and Bonnie Binion?

MURPHY: I don't think that it's appropriate to comment about the family under the circumstances. So I'd prefer not to do that. But as far as the justice system itself, I feel that it worked. And it worked in my case. And I'm grateful.

KING: The same judge as the first trial, right?

MURPHY: Correct.

KING: Is that usual?

CRISTALLI: In Nevada it is. Anytime there's a reversal, it would typically go back to the judge that conducted the initial trial.

KING: That surprise you?

STEVENSON: I was surprised that this judge did the same trial. Especially with what the Supreme Court came back with. They pretty much lambasted him. They told him he should have severed the different counts. Not allowed certain testimony. And many people felt that this second time around, the judge was bending over backward not to get a second reversal on the case. So he was easy on the defense. And that's one argument for the same judge not taking the case.

KING: Cindy, were you surprised, same judge?

CESARE: Yes, it is unusual I think as well. But that's the way it works in the state of Nevada. We have a lot of quirky laws here. So, that's just how it is here.

KING: Kind of a quirky place.

CESARE: Yes, it is a quirky place.

KING: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. My name is Leah. I'm calling from Las Vegas. Sandy, I'm very happy for you. At the first trial, you weren't guilty. And at the second trial, finally Mr. Cristalli, Mr. Sur (ph), Mr. Caramagla (ph), they all did their job.

But I have a question for you, Sandy I've been wanting to ask. I was at the trial constantly from beginning to end. Mr. Tabish seems to put you on a pedestal on every forum he gets, whether it be local or national. And I have never heard you reciprocate other than saying, I wish him well. Now could you tell me why that you can't do the same for him?

MURPHY: I haven't had a relationship or a friendship with Mr. Tabish for many years. It's been six years since Teddy's death. And I moved on with my life.

KING: Is he in love with you?

MURPHY: I don't believe so. No.

KING: He certainly admires you?

MURPHY: Maybe he's just better at articulating how he feels.

KING: You hold him no ill will?

MURPHY: Absolutely not. I hold him in a very high regard and I wish him well.

KING: You want to the mention someone else involved in the defense?

CRISTALLI: Well, it's a six week trial, a difficult case to put together. I could not have done it without the assistance of my colleagues, Mr. Gary Montifari (ph), Mr. John Pentivell (ph), assisted me in getting this thing prepared. It would be unfair not to mention those people that assisted me, just like Larry, you have people behind the scenes that assist you in getting ready.

KING: Cindy, what do you expect to happen on the 28th?

CESARE: Well, it all depends how quickly Michael Cristalli can get working on overturning those silver convictions. And when I spoke with Rick Tabish, he said that he and his legal team are working furiously as well. And they believe that they have reasons to overturn before they even get there on the 28th.

So Rick Tabish is hopeful he will be out of the state prison system here in 16 to 18 months. And that's pretty amazing to think, after all this time. So we'll have to see. We'll have to see how much work they can get done when they're done with all this national TV.

KING: What do you think we learned from this, Dr. Ludwig?

LUDWIG: That it is hard to make sense out of whether a person is guilty or innocent via the media. Because what happens is that it becomes very soap opera-esque. One person becomes the villain, the other person becomes the victim. And that we really don't know what goes on. And that there is a bias that gets placed in the media.

When I was reading about Sandy, she really came off as a person who was a con artist of sorts. And a user who was using her looks and body to get somebody with money. You know.

And in hearing her speak, I think she comes off very differently. So it goes to show, you never know. And it's so comforting when the justice system works.

KING: In other words, don't trust us especially when we presume.

LUDWIG: That's right.

KING: Thank you all very much. Congratulations, twin babies, a boy and a girl. Mary Jane Stevenson, Cindy Casare, Dr. Robi Ludwig, Michael Cristalli, and a very relieved Sandy Murphy.

And I'll be back to tell you about an exciting show tomorrow night right after this.


KING: Tomorrow night, Sophia Loren. Doesn't do a lot of interviews. She'll be with us tomorrow night. We turn it over now to Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT." Last week we talking about Dan Rather. Tonight, of course, Tom Brokaw leaves us. Got any quick thoughts on Tom?

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. He's good. I mean, he's the most approachable -- because, listen, I know all those guys and I love all those guys. They've all been great to me. Tom is the most normal person I've ever known in this business.

In a business where normal doesn't do that well, Tom is a normal guy. We wish him a lot of luck.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.