LAS VEGAS - The couple that a jury decided had plotted together to kill gambling figure Ted Binion must now prepare to serve potential life sentences in separate prisons.
Sandra Murphy, Binion's live-in girlfriend, looked stunned as the guilty verdicts were read Friday. Her lover, Rick Tabish, looked down and touched Murphy's arm twice, though she didn't acknowledge him.
Murphy, 28, and Tabish, 35, were convicted of murdering Binion on Sept. 17, 1998, and then stealing his valuables. The jury returns to court Tuesday for the penalty phase of the trial.
Witnesses are expected to testify for the prosecution and the defense Tuesday and Wednesday, then the jury will decide how much time the couple should spend in prison.
Murphy's attorney, John Momot, said his client was expecting to be acquitted.
''This young lady is strong and she's going to continue to fight until she's vindicated. This fight's not over by a long shot,'' he said.
Tabish's attorney, Louis Palazzo, said: ''Everybody's shocked.''
Both attorneys said they will appeal the convictions.
The first-degree murder conviction means Murphy and Tabish will spend at least 20 years behind bars. A jury could give them 50 years with parole after 20 years, life with parole after 20 years or life without parole.
Tabish could be sentenced to an additional 10 to 75 years in prison, while Murphy faces a potential eight to 61 years.
District Judge Joseph Bonaventure will decide if the sentences should be served consecutively or concurrently.
Formal sentencing will be 45 to 90 days after the jury decides the sentences.