top of page

Who were the people

Surrounding "Buffalo" Jim Barrier's Death?

James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier

  • Former wrestling and boxing promoter, auto shop owner, mechanic, and Las Vegas personality feuding with Rick Rizzolo for over a decade to keep his business alive [3]

  • According to his youngest daughter, Barrier left his home at 7:20PM the day before he was declared dead [6]

  • At 8:23PM, he checked into the Motel 6 on Boulder Highway

  • He was found dead of an apparent heart condition that the Clark County Coroner’s office said was brought about by cocaine use [17] where his death was estimated to have taken place shortly after he checked into his room [15]

  • Witnesses stated that Barrier was alone at check in [14] and that there was no activity around the prominent area that his room was located in [11]

  • A woman named “Lisa” is reported to have been in the room with Barrier [15], but left once he began to have a seizure [17]

  • Family request to exhume his body was not granted by the Clark County Coroner office [21]

    • The family believes the state of Barrier’s body at the scene of his death is similar to the circumstances surrounding the death of Ted Binion whose death was initially ruled accidental, but after exhumation, was later found to be a murder by his girlfriend and her lover [22]


Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo

  • Former owner of a controversial strip club, Crazy Horse Too since 1986

    • The club was infamous for investigations into racketeering, prostitution, money laundering, and other alleged crimes that took place on the property [1]

  • Involved in a decade-long battle to force Buffalo Jim Barrier to vacate his mechanic shop to allow Rizzolo to expand his strip club [3]

  • Subject to FBI investigation that was assisted by Buffalo Jim Barrier [3]

  • Pleaded guilty to defrauding the US Government of taxes by failing to report on cash receipts on June 1, 2006 [1]

  • Began sentence in the Los Angeles Federal Detention Center on May 22, 2007 [2]

  • Released from custody on April 4, 2008 [5]

    • Buffalo Jim Barrier was found dead 2 days later [3, 5]




  • A woman allegedly with Barrier at the time of his death [15]

  • Few details have been confirmed about her, aside from police stating that “a woman” was questioned by them and released

    • “We will contact her, or have contacted her,” Montandon said. “All of that will be contained in our final report.” [15]

  • No last name nor other information is known about this woman that was with Barrier and left him in the motel room when he suffered an apparent seizure in the final moments of his life [17]



Michael Murphy, DBA (Doctor of Business Administration)

  • Then-Coroner of Clark County [3]

  • Initially said “Foul play not suspected” regarding Barrier’s death [3]

  • Preliminary report to the family stated that there were no signs of drugs or heart attack in Barrier’s body [9], but a toxicology report would have more information several weeks later

  • Coroner’s report later stated that Barrier died from dilated cardiomyopathy that was a condition of cocaine found in his system [17]

  • Discounted the presence of GHB (date rape drug) found in Barrier’s system. The GHB was flagged on the report, but Murphy stated that it was naturally occurring [19]

  • Throughout the proceedings, Barrier’s death was treated as either due to natural causes or drug use [3, 17]

  • Did not proceed with exhumation of Barrier’s body as the family requested [21, 22]



Dr. Jess Evans, Ph.D.

  • A biochemist with a health diagnostic firm

  • Stated to the family of Jim Barrier that he would reveal the results of the blood work he had analyzed only if he was subpoenaed

  • Recanted on his promise to the family during a meeting with Barrier’s daughter, Jennifer, and several members of the Coroner’s office and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department



Dr. Rexene Worrell

  • Independent pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Jim Barrier apart from the Clark County Coroner

  • She has not released any details of the results of her autopsy as of May 2020 as promised to Barrier’s family



Tony Sgro

  • Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo’s Attorney 

  • Not reported to have answered questions from news media sources regarding Rizzolo and Barrier’s fight or have any comments from Mr. Rizzolo in the aftermath of Barrier’s death [21]

  • Currently has a practice with former Clark County District Attorney, David Roger [23]



David Roger

  • Clark County District Attorney first elected in 2002 [24]

  • Served from 2003 to 2012 [24] when he resigned from office

  • During his time as Clark County DA, never investigated a number of incidents regarding racketeering or coercion by Crazy Horse Too, especially the case of Kirk Henry, a man left a quadriplegic by Crazy Horse Too bouncers; a federal investigators took up the case when Roger did not look into it [25]

  • Recorded having received $18,000 from Rizzolo-affiliated organizations and relatives for his campaigns, but returned the donations [26]

  • Currently serves a General Counsel at Sgro & Roger Attorneys at Law [24]

bottom of page