Robert Durst, the real estate magnate whose long-suspected involvement in several murders chronicled in HBO’s documentary The Jinx led to his arrest, pleaded guilty to felony gun possession Wednesday in New Orleans. According to a New York Times report, he will be sentenced to 85 months in federal prison as part of a plea bargain.
In late December, the LA County District Attorney’s Office announced it made a deal to extradite Durst to Los Angeles once he is sentenced in the Louisiana federal court case. That deal was binding only if a plea agreement was reached. The DA wants Durst to face a murder charge in the 2000 shooting death of close friend and journalist Susan Berman.
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 spring 2015. 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.
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.
Durst’s attorney Dick De Guerin told the NYT they were ready to head to L.A. to face charges. “They’ve got a TV show and 15-year-old evidence that wasn’t good enough back then,” De Guerin told the paper, “and certainly isn’t good enough now.”
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