Mystery and a series of mysterious deaths seem to surround real estate heir Robert Durst. Seventy-one year old Durst was arrested March 14, 2015, in New Orleans and now faces capital murder charges related to the 2000 execution-style killing of longtime friend Susan Berman, filed by authorities in Los Angeles.
Judge Jeanine Pirro opened an investigation in 2000, while holding the post of Westchester County (New York) District Attorney, into the disappearance of Robert Durst’s first wife, Kathleen – who had gone missing in 1982. Berman was killed – just as Pirro was seeking to interview her in regards to the disappearance of Kathleen.
But this isn’t the first time that prosecutors have charged Durst with Murder. In 2001, Durst’s former neighbor in Galveston, Texas, – Morris Black was shot to death – Black’s dismembered body found headless floating in Galveston Bay. Durst was tried and acquitted in that case – after admitting cutting Black into pieces and disposing of the body – claiming self-defense while the two were fighting over a gun.
In the final scene of the HBO docu-series about his life The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, Durst was heard making the off-camera statements, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
Durst denies involvement in the disappearance of his first wife and Berman’s murder.
Judge Pirro sits down to spend a few moments with FOX News Radio’s Eben Brown to talk about the case. Listen to the interview here:
Durst Suspected in 1971 Disappearance of Vermont Girl
In the wake of Robert Durst's March 14 arrest for the murder of Susan Berman in 2000, several law enforcement agencies have taken a closer look at the 71-year-old millionaire, including the one in Middlebury, Vermont. The 1971 disappearance of college student Lynne Schulze (above) has mystified authorities in the small town of Middlebury for more than four decades. On December 10, 1971, Schulze, 18, vanished without a trace. In the hours before she disappeared, she bought dried prunes at All Good Things, a local health store. The 5-foot-3, 115-pound brunette was last seen across the street from the shop.
Then, in 2012, a source called police with a fascinating tip: Durst had owned All Good Things at the time Schulze vanished. (The store shares the name of the 2010 fictionalized movie, starring Ryan Gosling and Kristen Durst, based on the disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen.)
Still, evidence in the 43-year-old mystery is hard to come by. "We know that Lynne shopped at the store that was owned by Robert Durst on the day she disappeared," Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said in a press conference. "He is a person who had some proximate connection with someone who is missing. We can assume at this point there was some wrongdoing involved, potentially a homicide."
If he did kill this girl, I guess that would be his first known victim. I'd like to know more about how his mother died. He saw her die, but it makes you wonder if he might have had something to do with it.
Post by Graveyardbride on Dec 21, 2016 21:55:00 GMT -5
Witnesses Afraid to Testify in Durst’s Murder Trial
LOS ANGELES – Witnesses expected to testify in the murder trial of real estate scion Robert Durst are concerned for their safety, a prosecutor told a judge Tuesday, citing the heir’s vast wealth and the deaths of people close to him.
Durst, 73, whose ties to several slayings were chronicled last year in the HBO documentary The Jinx, is charged with fatally shooting writer and longtime confidante Susan Berman in December 2000. Prosecutors say he killed her because of what she knew about the death of Durst’s wife in New York two decades earlier.
Durst, who appeared Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in a wheelchair wearing a blue shirt and glasses with his hair cropped short, pleaded not guilty last month to first-degree murder in the Berman case. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin asked Judge Mark Windham to schedule a conditional hearing for February to record witness testimony, ahead of trial, saying witnesses “understandably are concerned about their safety.” He said witnesses are concerned because Durst is accused of killing Berman over what she knew about his wife’s disappearance. They are also worried about the killing and dismemberment of a Texas neighbor of Durst’s, whom Lewin called “a witness.” Durst was acquitted of murder in that case. Lewin told the court the real estate heir has some $100 million in assets. The prosecutor said among those he hopes will testify is an 85-year-old doctor and another unnamed witness whom Lewin said could “disappear, die, be murdered.”
An attorney for Durst, David Chesnoff, rejected the argument that Durst, wheelchair-bound and incarcerated, poses any threat to witnesses, calling the remarks “hyperbole.”
Windham did not rule on the proposed condition examination hearing to speed up testimony. He did, however, grant the state’s request that an independent expert be appointed to examine crates of Durst-related documents confiscated by investigators and determine which papers should be excluded as material protected under attorney-client privilege. Windham also said he would hold a hearing on the question of whether Durst waived his right to attorney-client privilege over materials seized from Durst’s friend in New York State.
Berman, 55, was found dead in her Los Angeles home, reportedly shot execution style, not long after police in New York reopened their investigation into the 1982 disappearance and presumed killing of Durst’s wife, Kathleen. Durst was questioned but never charged in that probe.
After the hearing, defense attorney Dick DeGuerin told reporters that “Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman, doesn’t know who did, and we are ready to get down the road for a trial.”
Durst was formally charged with Berman’s murder a day after HBO aired the final episode of The Jinx, in which Durst was recorded muttering to himself off-camera: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” After his arrest, Durst told authorities that he smoked marijuana daily and was high on methamphetamine during his appearance on The Jinx, according to court records.
Source: Alex Dubuzinskis and Eric M. Johnson, Reuters, December 21, 2016.
The trial hasn’t started. The case is still in the pretrial phase and recently, defense attorneys requested a delay in hearings on whether Durst waived attorney-client privilege as to boxes of evidence and the admissibility of his New Orleans interview with a Los Angeles deputy district attorney. Pretrial hearings are set to resume April 25.
Additionally, on April 4, a New York judge declared Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack Durst, Robert Durst’s first wife, officially dead. Members of Kathie’s family want to file a multi-million-dollar wrongful death lawsuit against Durst. Kathie Durst was last seen January 31, 1982, at the home of a friend in Newtown, Connecticut.
Post by Graveyardbride on Jul 11, 2017 15:16:02 GMT -5
Durst’s New York Friends Ordered to Testify in California Case
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Two of Robert Durst’s longtime friends have been ordered by a New York judge to testify at a pretrial hearing in the eccentric millionaire’s murder case in California this month. Christopher Quinn, an acting state supreme court justice, found that Stewart and Emily Altman, who are from Long Island, are “material and necessary witnesses” in the Durst case. Stewart Altman has Durst’s friend since their high school days in the early 1960s.
Durst, who was featured in the HBO documentary The Jinx, is facing murder charges in Los Angeles in the 2000 killing of his longtime friend, Susan Berman. Prosecutors suspect Durst shot Berman because he feared she might divulge incriminating information regarding the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen. Durst, 74, was never charged in Kathleen Durst’s disappearance and has denied killing either Berman or his first wife. In The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, he is heard muttering he “killed them all.” He was arrested in New Orleans in 2015 just before the final episode aired.
Attorneys for the Altmans argued the couple’s testimony is not necessary at a pretrial hearing. Elizabeth Johnson, one of their attorneys, said Wednesday she would appeal Quinn’s ruling.
Los Angeles prosecutors say they want to question the Altmans concerning their friendship with Durst, including his state of mind when he fled to Galveston, Texas, in 2000 amid questions about Kathleen Durst’s disappearance. The prosecutor in the Durst case declined to comment on the New York ruling. Five of Durst’s lawyers did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the decision.
In 2001, Durst was charged with killing a 71-year-old neighbor in Galveston, where he was living disguised as a mute woman. While conceding he chopped up neighbor Morris Black’s corpse and tossed it into the sea, Durst was acquitted of murder after testifying that he was defending himself.
Stewart Altman, a labor attorney, indicated in court papers that he may be entitled to claim attorney-client privilege concerning conversations he has had with Durst. But Quinn said, “Any rulings based upon exerting the privilege must be made on a question-by-question basis before a California judge.”
Prosecutors also want to question Emily Altman about a 33-page document Durst prepared for his Galveston trial, called “BD story.” At Durst’s request, she turned the document over to the filmmakers who produced the HBO documentary, according to court papers. Quinn ruled Emily Altman is “a necessary witness” regarding the document.
Source: Frank Eltman, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 5, 2017.
The Robert Durst cases have inspired two Law and Order episodes. The first, “Maledictus,” aired in 2002 as the 19th episode in Season 1 of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The episode concerns the murder of a Russian mobster’s daughter, who was rumored to be writing another book, supposedly about the Russian mafia. However, it turns out the book was actually about the supposed suicide of a woman, who had two children, a son and daughter, and the son, Kenny Strik (David Thornton), is a transvestite and close friend of the murdered woman.
I saw this show again not long ago on DVD and it turned out that the character that was based on Durst had murdered his mother with some kind of poison, though her death had been ruled a suicide. The real Robert Durst's mother committed suicide. Is it possible that his mother didn't commit suicide and that he killed her? I've asked this before, but nobody commented on it.
Post by Graveyardbride on Jul 19, 2017 12:16:36 GMT -5
Brother Says Robert Durst Lied about Mother’s Death
Real estate developer Douglas Durst says his troubled brother lied to a filmmaker in a new HBO documentary, distorting the events surrounding their mother’s death so he would sound more sympathetic. Douglas, chairman of the Durst Organization, says his brother, Robert – an admitted killer – manipulated director Andrew Jarecki, turning the filmmaker into an “enabler.”
“Your docudrama relies on Robert’s self-serving, revisionist and fictitious account of the past,” Douglas Durst wrote in a letter that was being sent by messenger to Jarecki’s office this afternoon. “This makes you an enabler of a sick and dangerous man and helps him in his attempts to re-write history and blame others for his misdeeds.” The six-part series, titled The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, chronicles in chilling detail the sordid story of the fallen scion. It premieres Feb. 8.
Robert Durst is a man who has confessed to killing and dismembering his neighbor in Texas – in self-defense, a jury agreed – and is suspected by many in the disappearance of his first wife and the death of a companion. He has been estranged from his family for many years.
The Sunday primetime show by Jarecki – the creator of a feature-length film about the same subject – is based in large part on hours of interviews with the notoriously-secretive figure. In one interview, Robert Durst recounts his version of what happened the night of Nov. 8, 1950, that his 32-year-old mother, Bernice Durst (shown above with son Robert), fell from the roof of their home and died. Robert claims his father, real estate developer Seymour Durst, brought him to the window and said to look out. Jarecki created a re-enactment of the scene based on the interview. “And there was mommy,” he says in the show. “I waved at mommy. I don’t know if she saw me. It never went through my mind, ‘What is she doing out on the roof in her nighty?’” Then, he says, he headed back to bed before hearing the maid yell, “She’s off the roof.”
“It was a long, long fall,” he says in the re-enactment depicting him watching her tumble. The show later shows a boy standing on the street and watching as she is placed in an ambulance. The sight of her standing on the roof and then falling is featured prominently in the opening credits, too. “I never forgot,” he continues in the interview. “I was there. It happened. I saw it. It never left me.”
But Douglas Durst, who took over the family business after his brother showed little interest, says in the letter that the whole scenario was fabricated. “On the night my mother died, Robert was not brought to the window by my father, Seymour, and asked to wave to my mother,” he writes. “I, and my three siblings, were awoken and whisked out of our house to our neighbors for the duration of the tragedy. The four of us were together the entire time and none of us witnessed the death of our mother.”
The incident was said by the authorities at the time to be an accident. Newspapers indicated the 32-year-old woman had overdosed on asthma medication, but The New York Times has reported family members privately acknowledged her death was a suicide.
Members of the Durst family – with the exception of one relative, a nephew – have refused to cooperate with the documentary, which has been in the works for a decade. Jarecki told reporters who attended a screening Thursday at HBO’s offices in Midtown that he felt the family was “antagonistic” toward him for years. “They’ve been so hostile to this, ever since the beginning,” Jarecki explained. “And it only made it more interesting. You’ve got to ask yourself why that family is so anxious about this story being out there. It’s not like people have not told a story about Bob Durst in the past. It’s been news many, many times over the years,” he added. “So what they appear to be more concerned about is the research that we tend to do on these subjects – we go much deeper into these subjects, get kind of obsessed, work on a movie for like five years or eight years,” he said. “And I think that’s why they were so aggressive.”
In his letter, Douglas Durst suggests Jarecki has found a personal connection to his brother’s troubled relationship with their father, noting the filmmaker’s public statements about his own father. Jarecki has called his father, a successful commodities trader and psychiatrist, a “German-overbearing, capitalist ” and “sort of a Teutonic taskmaster.” Douglas Durst writes in his letter that the depiction of Seymour Durst as being disinterested in his children is simply not accurate, calling him “attentive, doting and concerned about our well-being. You have spoken publically about the tensions you have with your father and the pressure and control he placed upon you,” he writes. “I am sorry that your relationship is dysfunctional, but do not use your movie to project your problems with your father onto mine.”
The second episode does, in fact, indicate that Robert has lied, giving a revelation about the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen Durst, who went missing in 1982 and was never found. Robert admits to Jarecki that he lied to the NYPD when he reported her missing, fabricating an alibi so detectives would “leave me alone.” Durst has long been suspected in her disappearance. He says in the show that she had returned home from a dinner party at a friend’s house and said she wanted to go to their apartment in the city. They argued, he said, which really meant there was pushing and shoving. She eventually agreed to take a train and he drove her to the station.
Days later, Durst walked into the 20th Precinct on the Upper West Side and reported Kathleen missing. Relaying the narrative of that evening, he told a detective he had driven back his house after dropping her at the station. He said he stopped by for a drink with a neighbor. Then he called Kathie from a payphone and confirmed she had arrived in the city. Or so he claimed. “That’s what I told the police,” Robert said. “I was hoping that would make everything go away.” In other words, he told the story so police wouldn’t immediately suspect him. He hoped they would accept his story and treat wife’s disappearance as a missing-person case. “They’re going to leave me alone, now,” he says he was thinking.
Did you actually end up speaking to her that night, Jarecki asks. “No,” he flatly replies.
She apparently did arrive at the apartment, though, and was noticed by the doorman. The next morning, Kathie, a fourth-year medical student, called the dean of her school to say she was sick and would not make it in. She was never heard from again.
Jarecki suggested on that much more would be revealed in the four other episodes, saying there were additional surprises. By the end of the series, he claimed, “You're going to know what happened.”
Source: Ryan Hutchins, Politico, January 30, 2015.
“On the night my mother died, Robert was not brought to the window by my father, Seymour, and asked to wave to my mother,” he writes. “I, and my three siblings, were awoken and whisked out of our house to our neighbors for the duration of the tragedy. The four of us were together the entire time and none of us witnessed the death of our mother.”