Robert Durst, the son of a Manhattan real estate mogul, will not fly to Los Angeles to face a trial on murder charges, as New Orleans investigators are currently preparing the case and gathering new evidence.
Robert Durst, 71, is currently held in a psychiatric jail outside New Orleans after he was arrested on state gun charges Wednesday. The U.S. District Attorney in New Orleans already filed a federal gun charge a few days ago.
But as Louisiana investigators gather more evidence for an incoming trial, California investigators and prosecutors will go on a brief visit to New York to question more witnesses on a what seems to be the 2000 execution-style murder of Susan Berman, a close female friend of Mr. Durst.
Yet the lawyers of the accused claim that the arrest in New Orleans is part of a larger plan to buy Los Angeles prosecutors time to prepare their case. Lawyers are also displeased with prosecutors for not briefing them on what new evidence they have.
“We’ve got the tail wagging the dog. The arrest in New Orleans is nothing but a product of the Los Angeles arrest warrant,”
said one of Mr. Durst’s attorneys.
In 2014, L.A. district attorney reopened an almost forgotten case on Ms. Bergman’s murder. The new investigation was made as secretive as possible since investigators hoped that Mr. Durst won’t learn about their plans. They managed to interview the victim’s family members and friends and learn more about the mysterious murder which took place in the woman’s Benedict Canyon home.
However, last month L.A. investigators became restless as they feared that Mr. Durst’s visit to New Orleans was an attempt to flee the country. As a result, they issued a murder warrant, but before they could arrest the man, New Orleans authorities already arrested him March 14 on gun charges.
New Orleans investigators said that they found several ounces of marijuana and a revolver in his JW Marriott Hotel room.
In the last couple of weeks, John Lewin, the chief prosecutor involved in the Berman murder case arranged with Mr. Durst’s family and his close friends several meetings in New York. The interviews are scheduled next week, said people contacted by either the prosecutor or investigators.
Mr. Durst’s lawyers recently declared that they were eager to reach New York and defend their client against the murder charge. Dick DeGuerin, one of his leading lawyers, said that L.A. prosecutors didn‘t have a case since they certainly didn’t have any new evidence except for the HBO TV show that was staged to trap Mr. Durst into saying something that would point the finger at him.
The lawyer was referring to a HBO documentary called “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” in which Mr. Durst made a series of statements that seemed to be confessions to a series of murders. Mr. Durst made the comments during the final episode which was aired March 15.
That final episode, though, renewed the interest of L.A. investigators into Ms. Berman’s murder and Mr. Durst’s first wife mysterious disappearance in 1982.
Image Source: TIME