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Associated Press Attorney urged Binion not to move silver

LAS VEGAS - Ted Binion fretted to his lawyer about someone killing him and stealing $7 million in silver he had stashed in a secret vault, and urged the lode be removed in the event of his demise.

One of Binion's attorneys testified Tuesday he admonished his client to avoid ordering such actions, saying the vault was impenetrable and the removal should be left to authorities.

Attorney Tom Standish recounted the conversations during testimony in the trial of Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish, who are accused of killing Binion Sept. 17, 1998, then trying to dig up his silver 36 hours later.

Standish said Binion told him that "because of his wealth, his life could be at risk."

Binion told Standish that someone should move quickly to remove the silver bars and rare coins from a concrete vault along a heavily traveled road in Pahrump, Nev., where he had buried it weeks earlier.

"I told him it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard," Standish testified.

Tabish, a Missoula contractor, is charged with stealing the silver in a pre-dawn raid on the vault Sept. 19, 1998. He was arrested at the scene along with David Mattsen, the foreman of Binion's Pahrump ranch, and Michael Milot, one of Tabish's employees. Murphy, who was Tabish's lover, is also charged in the theft, although she was not present.

Private investigator Robert Leonard reviewed records he had compiled for cellular phones belonging to Murphy and Tabish.

He said more than 200 calls were placed between the two phones from Sept. 1-19, 1998. Included was one from Tabish's cell phone to Murphy's, at 3:47 p.m. on the day of Binion's death. Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney David Roger said the call was placed just minutes before Murphy called 911 to report the discovery of Binion's body at his Las Vegas home.

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