There is an old criminal defense saying that “one day on the cover of Time, next day doing Time.” That appears to hold for Robert A. Durst, who recently agreed to be interviewed for a documentary for HBO, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” on his suspicion for the murder of his wife and two other people. The producers uncovered new evidence and Durst was arrested in New Orleans after checking into a hotel under an assumed name.
Durst’s first wife disappeared over 30 years ago but prosecutors were under able to substantiate suspicions that he murdered Kathleen Durst who disappeared in 1982. A medical student, she married Durst, who was an eccentric heir to one of New York’s biggest real estate dynasties. (Eventually, he would become estranged from his father who picked his brother to take over the huge family business. He would sue his family for $65 million for part of the estate. After the arrest, his brother Douglas Durst expressed relief: “We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst. We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”).
And he allegedly has much to answer for.
Durst would also later be implicated in the death of one of his closest friends, Susan Berman, who became something of his spokesman after the disappearance of Kathleen. She was found dead in her home in 2000. After that death, Durst disappeared himself and even posed as a mute women to rent a cheap apartment in Galveston, Texas. In Galveston, Durst shot and dismembered a neighbor in 2001. He had run again after that murder with a warrant for the murder of Morris Black, a former merchant seaman who had lived across the hall from him. He was arrested while shoplifting a sandwich from a Wegmans supermarket. However, he was acquitted in that killing after convincing a jury that it was an accidental shooting when they were wrestling over a gun. He admitted to dismembering Black and said that the task left him “swimming in blood.”
The arrest appears to be based on new evidence in the Berman killing.
The film produced new evidence including a chilling unguarded moment recorded during a break where Durst, who often talks to himself, said “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” Over the course of 10 years studying his life, the producers found an important piece of evidence. Police always suspected him of the execution style killing of Berman and believed that he was the person who sent a note to police on the day of the killing saying there was a “cadaver” in her home. But a handwriting analysis performed in 2003 was inconclusive. However, the producers found a letter written by Mr. Durst to Ms. Berman with lettering that was seemingly identical to that of the “cadaver” note, including the same misspelling of Beverly Hills as “Beverley.” An expert found the writing to be a match.
Durst was arrested under an assumed name in New Orleans while walking to an elevator and mumbling to himself.
He told people that he was not worried that the documentary would reignite interest of prosecutors in his case. He was wrong.
Source: NY Times