UPDATE, 5:50 AM: A deal has been reached to return Robert Durst, subject of HBO’s The Jinx, from Louisiana to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in the 2000 shooting death of close friend and journalist Susan Berman. Under the agreement announced Tuesday afternoon, Durst will be extradited to Los Angeles by August 18 once he is sentenced in a federal court case in Louisiana, where he was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The deal is binding only if a plea agreement is reached in that case.
This is the latest movement in the wild Durst saga that garnered national attention after HBO aired Andrew Jarecki’s documentary series The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst in the spring. The heir to a New York real estate fortune has long been suspected in the deaths of three people, including Berman and his wife Kathie, but has never been convicted. In March, the night before a bombshell final episode of the series, he was arrested in New Orleans and charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Berman, who was killed on or about December 23, 2000.
The next night, in the finale of the six-part documentary, Durst is heard mumbling to himself after he leaves an on-camera interview to use a washroom, his lapel microphone still “live.” “What the hell did I do?” he asks himself. “Killed ’em all, of course,” he answers. The penultimate episode of The Jinx posited to prove beyond doubt that Durst himself had alerted the LAPD to a “cadaver” at Berman’s Benedict Canyon home, where her body was discovered.
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In the final episode’s interview with Durst, he denied having written the letter, before ending the formal interview and removing himself to the washroom.
Afterward, questions arose about the timing of Durst’s arrest and the end of the series. The LAPD and District Attorney released statements saying that they had been working for two years on the case and that the arrest had nothing to do with the timing of The Jinx.
PREVIOUS, MARCH 15, 6:37 PM: Less than 24 hours after he was arrested in New Orleans in connection with a 2000 murder, Robert Durst is heard on tape in the final episode of HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst admitting he “killed ’em all, of course.”
That was one of several incriminating comments by Durst caught on tape during the interviews he did with makers of the series, which concluded tonight. Durst was arrested late Saturday night by the FBI in connection with a reopened first-degree murder case involving the shooting death of close friend and journalist Susan Berman just before she was to be called in to testify about the disappearance of Durst’s wife years before.
Durst is suspected in the deaths of three people but has never been convicted in any of the cases.
UPDATE, 2:25 PM: The Los Angeles Police Department has issued a statement on Durst’s arrest. Full text of that statement has been added below.
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY, 9:01 AM: Robert Durst, the subject of HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst, was arrested Saturday night in New Orleans in connection with a Los Angeles County first-degree murder investigation. The New York Times first reported the news.
Durst, heir to a New York real-estate fortune, has been investigated in connection with three murders, but, as The Jinx details, has only spent time in jail for not paying for a meal, though he had hundreds of dollars in his wallet and thousands more in his car at the time.
One of those cases, the 2000 shooting death of Los Angeles journalist Susan Berman was the basis for Durst’s latest arrest. Berman had been a friend and confidante of Durst but was about to be called to testify in an investigation of the disappearance of Durst’s wife, Kathy, years earlier.
Durst, 71, is being held without bond. He is not contesting extradition to Los Angeles. The warrant comes after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office reopened an investigation into the Berman case last week.
About the arrest, the LAPD and FBI released the following statement to the press:
Los Angeles: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New Orleans, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Police Department arrested Robert Durst yesterday afternoon for the December 2000 murder of Susan Berman.
The long-term investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Los Angeles and New York, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police.
Berman’s body was discovered in her West Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve 2000. Since that time the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery Homicide Division has conducted an investigation into Ms. Berman’s death.
As a result of investigative leads and additional evidence that has come to light in the past year, investigators have identified Robert Durst as the person responsible for Ms. Berman’s death.
Investigators in concert with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Major Crimes Section secured an arrest warrant for Robert Durst for the murder of Susan Berman and arrested Mr. Durst on Saturday, March 14, 2015, in New Orleans, La.
Arrangements will be made to seek Mr. Durst(‘s) extradition from Louisiana to California.
For further information, contact LAPD Media Relations at (213) 486-5910. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
The last episode in the six-part HBO series is scheduled to run tonight.
The network issued this statement this afternoon: “We simply cannot say enough about the brilliant job that Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling did in producing The Jinx. Years in the making, their thorough research and dogged reporting reignited interest in Robert Durst’s story with the public and law enforcement.”
Fox News will air a live special tonight featuring Judge Pirro, who investigated Durst in the 1982 disappearance of his wife Kathleen. Pirro reopened the case in 2000 when she was serving as Westchester County, N.Y., district attorney.
The special, titled Justice – Robert Durst Arrested, will air at 10 PM ET.
Deadline‘s Ross Lincoln and David Bloom contributed to this report.
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