Real estate billionaire arrested for murder

March 19th, 2015



Wealthy eccentric Robert Durst agreed Monday to be returned to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in the execution-style shooting 15 years ago of a mobster’s daughter who acted as his spokeswoman.


The heir to a New York real estate fortune shuffled into a New Orleans courtroom with his hands shackled at his waist, wearing sandals and an orange jumpsuit. He turned to the gallery and smiled, then appeared to fall asleep. Later, he answered “yes” to a judge’s questions about waiving extradition.


Magistrate Harry Cantrell said Durst could be taken to California immediately. He also agreed that pain medication would be provided before the trip, after attorney Dick DeGuerin said Durst has had “neurosurgery.”


These consequences came only hours after Sunday’s finale of an HBO documentary detailing his life of privilege and links to three deaths: his friend in Los Angeles, Susan Berman; his wife in New York, Kathleen Durst; and Morris Black, an elderly neighbor in Texas.


Durst is heard muttering that he “killed them all, of course,” at the end of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

Robert Durst

Durst acknowledges on videotape the similarities in the handwriting of a letter he wrote and another one sent anonymously to Beverly Hills Police alerting them to his friend’s “cadaver.”


Then he went to the bathroom, still wearing his live microphone.


What followed was bizarre rambling in which Durst said, apparently to himself, “There it is. You’re caught” and “What the hell did I do? Killed them all of course.”


Durst’s longtime lawyer, Chip Lewis, smelled a setup, calling Jarecki “duplicitous” for not making it clear to Durst that he would be sharing information with police.


Lewis also suspects the timing of Durst’s arrest was coordinated between the authorities and HBO for maximum impact.


Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Kirk Albanese scoffed at that.


“The HBO series had nothing to do with his arrest. We do police work based on the facts and evidence, not based on the HBO series. I know there’s lots of speculation about that. It had nothing to do with the show,” Albanese told The AP on Monday.


Jarecki told “Good Morning America” that he didn’t even know about the bathroom audio until much later, when an editor happened to hear it.


“It was so chilling to hear it,” Jarecki said. “It was disturbing to hear it. It makes you very uncomfortable to hear it.”


Robert Durst has been estranged from his family since their father chose his brother Douglas to run the family business. In recent years, they took out restraining orders against him, but he was acquitted of trespassing outside their homes.


“We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done,” Douglas Durst said in a statement Sunday.