New York real estate scion Durst faces hearing on murder warrant

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2015 11:33 AM

By Jonathan Kaminsky

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New York real estate scion Robert Durst was to appear in a New Orleans courtroom on Monday as a judge weighed extraditing him to Los Angeles County, where a murder warrant has been issued against him.

Durst was questioned but not charged in the deaths of his first wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982 and of a longtime friend in 2000 in California. He was acquitted of murder in a third case in 2001.

Durst, who is the subject of a six-part HBO documentary series called "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," has maintained his innocence. The 71-year-old was arrested on Saturday in New Orleans.

His attorney, Chip Lewis, said Durst will not fight efforts to bring him to Los Angeles to face the first-degree murder charge in the death of his friend, Susan Berman, Fox News reported.

In the final installment of the HBO series, which aired on Sunday night, Durst appears to say he carried out the killings. But it is not known if he is speaking sincerely, and he is speaking to himself.

The documentary shows an interview session during which he rejects a piece of evidence against him. Durst then goes to the bathroom still wearing the microphone, apparently unaware he is still being taped.

In remarks captured on audiotape, he whispers to himself, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

The New York Times reported last week that the district attorney in Los Angeles had recently reopened an investigation into the December 2000 killing of Berman and was tying it to the case of Kathleen Durst, who went missing from New York and was eventually pronounced dead.

In a separate case, after being arrested while living in Texas disguised as a mute woman, Durst was acquitted of murder in 2001 after convincing a jury that he had fatally shot and dismembered an elderly neighbor in an act of self-defense.

The Durst Organization oversees the lease and maintenance of One World Trade Center, the Western Hemisphere's tallest skyscraper, built on the site of the twin towers destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The company owns 11 Manhattan office towers.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky)