Robert Durst, the 71-year-old New York real estate heir who has long been suspected in the disappearance of his late wife, was charged Monday with the 2000 murder of his former friend, Susan Berman, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. Later Monday it was announced that Durst also faces weapons charges in Louisiana, where he was arrested.
The murder charge brings with it the possibility of capital punishment, something L.A. County prosecutors will decide whether to pursue at a later date.
The charges come just a day after the season finale of the “The Jinx,” an HBO documentary series about his life. In the episode, Durst — who reached out to director Andrew Jarecki and volunteered to participate — is heard on a microphone seemingly whispering to himself, “What the hell did I do?” and “Killed them all, of course.” Durst apparently did not realize the microphone was still recording when he went to the bathroom.
on Saturday, before the finale aired, Durst was arrested at a New Orleans hotel where he had registered using false name. Los Angeles County issued a warrant for his arrest on a capital murder charge for the killing of Susan Berman in 2000. Berman was Durst’s confidante and friend from college who served as his spokeswoman following the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s late wife.
Earlier Monday, Durst appeared in a New Orleans court where he agreed to return to Los Angeles to face charges. As of late Monday, Durst was being held in New Orleans without bail. He will be brought back to Los Angeles at a future date for arraignment.
The court hearing on Monday was quick. Durst, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, spoke only to the judge saying “yes, I signed that” when asked whether he had signed a document waving his right to an extradition hearing.
Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, told reporters that “We came here to waive jurisdiction so we can go back to California and get [the trial] on. Durst didn’t kill Susan and we are eager to get the trial done.”
Durst was questioned but never charged by authorities when his wife vanished from the couple’s home in Westchester County. Separately, in 2001, Durst was arrested in connection with the death of his 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black, whose dismembered body was discovered in the Galveston Bay. He was eventually acquitted for Black’s murder in 2003, admitting to dismembering Black, but insisting he killed the man in self-defense.
Additional reporting by Andrew Blankstein.