Robert Durst: the race against death for a killer TV finale
Robert Durst has been charged with the murder of Susan Berman in 2000 Durst is suspected of murdering two more people: his first wife Kathie in 1982 and Morris Black.
USA Today reports that if found guilty of first-degree murder, Durst could face the death penalty.
Durst, a scion of one an America’s big property dynasty worth over $4bn, says he’s innocent. (His own weath is estiamted at $100m.)
But he seems to have confessed on camera in Andrew Jarecki’s HBO’s six-part documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
On the final show, Durst is shown an envelope addressed to Miss Berman. The lettering is in Mr Durst’s own handwriting – and it looks very much like the block capital lettering on an anonymous letter sent to Beverly Hills police pointing to a “cadaver” in Miss Berman’s home. That body was Miss Berman. On both letters “Beverly” is misspelled “Beverley”.
Durst suggests that the writer of the first letter must have been Berman’s killer.
Has the TV nailed its star?
Durst starts burping. He then heads to the toilets. The microphone is still on as Robert Durst, 71, mutters: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course… There it is. You’re caught.”
Durst maintains his innocence.
Durst might well be confident of securing an acquittal. As the Times notes:
After Miss Berman’s death, Mr Durst moved to Texas, where he lived in a boarding house masquerading as a mute woman. In 2003 he was put on trial for murder after dismembered body parts belonging to his elderly friend and neighbour, Morris Black, were found floating in Galveston Bay.
Mr Lewis told the jury that Mr Durst admitted to shooting Mr Black, and to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember his body before dumping the remains.
The lawyer argued however that the killing had been in self-defence and that his client had Asperger’s syndrome. Mr Durst was acquitted of murder.
He served three years for bond-jumping and evidence-tampering.
And here’s the other interesting thing. That allegedly incriminating audio was recorded in 2013. Why didn’t HBO tell the police back then? Well, they claim they didn’t notice until an intern was editing the footage for broadcast.
Mr Jarecki tells ABC News:
“I sat there in the edit room with my partners, and we just sort of shook our heads and it took a while to really understand the impact of it. It was so chilling to hear it.”
Which makes us wonder what would have happened had Durst died before the show aired? What if God had beaten HBO to the punchline? What if the jinx had struck again? What then for justice as entertainment?