Prosecutors have asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to admit evidence of past acts of domestic violence in their case against New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who is charged with murdering his best friend and confidant.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey argued that Durst’s alleged history of physically and emotionally abusing his wife — detailed in a 169-page document that includes hospital records, entries from his wife’s journal, statements from friends and family and Robert Durst’s own remarks — are key to connecting him to Kathleen Durst’s disappearance in 1982.
Robert Durst was never charged in disappearance of his wife, whose body has never recovered. Prosecutors say they hope to prove his long-suspected culpability in her death to provide a motive for killing Susan Berman, a friend to whom prosecutors say he confessed the killing and who helped cover up the crime.
“These acts of domestic violence and emotional abuse, detailed below, are directly relevant to demonstrate that (Durst) killed his wife, which in turn is necessary to prove the special circumstance of ‘witness killing’ alleged in this case,” Lacey argues in a motion filed Thursday. “To meet their burden, the People not only need to prove that (Durst) killed Susan, but that he did so to prevent her from testifying to what she knew regarding (his) culpability for Kathie’s death. In essence, everything related to Susan’s murder originates with (his) original killing of his wife and Susan’s knowledge and participation in the cover-up.”
Durst was arrested in connection with Berman’s slaying on March 14, 2015. He had been staying at a hotel in New Orleans, and authorities there found guns, stacks of cash, a fake ID and an old-man mask. He pled not guilty to the 2000 murder.
The arrest took place the day before the finale of a 2015 HBO documentary, The Jinx, which explored the real estate scion’s life. In the final episode, he mutters, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
To some, his comments appeared to be a confession to three killings: those of his long-vanished wife, Berman and a neighbor in Texas. Durst subsequently claimed he muttered those remarks while under the influence of methamphetamines.
A hearing is scheduled to take place on April 16.