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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Not Guilty

The biggest trial in Las Vegas history - the Ted Binion trial - has reached its second verdict:
Rick Tabish and Sandy Murphy, once found guilty of murder, are now not guilty thanks to their second chance trial.

Those of us who have read Positively Fifth Street by James Mcmanus are familiar with this story and perhaps a little confused.

The trouble for me is many of us were educated on the trial through Mcmanus' good work. His book, however, started with a graphic depiction of how the two lovers killed Binion. Only after the description is complete does he explain it is his theory dramatized. Rather than starting with facts moving to analysis and then opinion Mcmanus goes the other direction. This is all perfectly ethical and appropriate for a novel like Fifth Street. My issue is many of us have made the mistake of using Fifth Street as our main resource.

Now I am intelligent enough to look at many different sources and apply my own opinion to a story. Even with this knowledge I find myself knee-jerk reacting to Binion trial news. My education began with a narrative depicting the murder and rather than starting from an emotional level field I've now got to fight to ensure I am objective.

This is not a criticism of an excellent book, one I recommend. It is just when I heard they were not guilty my first thought was: "Of course they are," and I don't know if that is me talking or Mcmanus.