HBO documentary star Durst facing legal morass
The legal morass of HBO documentary subject Robert Durst promised to get more complicated Tuesday as the wealthy eccentric faced gun charges in New Orleans, murder charges in Los Angeles and a revived murder investigation in New York. Durst, 71, was arrested Saturday in New Orleans on a murder warrant from Los Angeles. The next day HBO aired the climactic final episode of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst featuring his now infamous bathroom mutterings.
On Monday, Durst waived extradition, ready to fight the California charge. Authorities in Los Angeles formally charged him with the murder of his friend and author Susan Berman, who was found dead with a bullet in her head on Christmas Eve 2000. But first, Durst has to get out of Louisiana. Authorities in New Orleans say Durst, arrested at a hotel, was in possession of a handgun. They charged him Monday as a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and with having a small amount of marijuana.
“We came here to waive arraignment and go back to California and get it on,” Durst’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said on the courthouse steps. “Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman.” DeGuerin expressed “frustration” that the local charges could delay the California proceedings. “It’s never a good thing to be charged with multiple crimes in multiple jurisdictions,” Stuart Slotnick, a defense lawyer at the New York firm of Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney, told USA TODAY. But he stressed that the cases can be dealt with one at a time, with neither one adversely affecting the other.
Ultimately, Durst will be transferred to Los Angeles, where he is charged with one count of first-degree murder. The charge under California law carries the “special circumstances of murder of a witness and lying in wait,” and makes Durst eligible for the death penalty if convicted, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.