Millionaire agrees to go to L.A. to face murder charge
New Orleans — Robert Durst, a troubled millionaire from one of America's richest families, agreed Monday to face trial for murder in the Los Angeles shooting 15 years ago of a woman who some believe knew too much about the disappearance of his wife in 1982.
Monday's extradition hearing came only hours after Sunday's finale of a six-part HBO documentary detailing Durst's life of privilege and links to three deaths: his friend in Los Angeles, Susan Berman; his wife in New York, Kathleen Durst; and Morris Black, an elderly neighbor in Texas.
Durst is heard muttering that he "killed them all, of course," at the end of "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."
His trip to California trip may be delayed by new charges in Louisiana, one of his lawyers said. A police report said the heir to a New York real estate fortune was carrying a revolver when FBI agents arrested him without incident at a New Orleans hotel before the final episode. It wasn't immediately clear if Durst had the required gun permit. Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish district attorney's office, declined to comment.
Durst shuffled into a courtroom with his hands shackled at his waist, wearing sandals and an orange jumpsuit, and appeared to fall asleep before Magistrate Harry Cantrell struck his gavel down. Then he answered "yes" to questions about waiving extradition. The judge also agreed that Durst could get pain medication meanwhile; defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said Durst had undergone "neurosurgery."
Durst had been laying low at the Marriott hotel to avoid the growing attention from the documentary, his longtime lawyer, Chip Lewis, told the Associated Press.
This is not the first time in handcuffs for Durst, who has been estranged from family members who are together worth an estimated $4 billion. The Durst Organization manages a New York real estate empire including One World Trade Center.
Just last year, Durst was fined for urinating on the candy racks at a CVS pharmacy in Houston, where he keeps a townhouse. Lewis called that an "unfortunate medical mishap" and said Durst has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that can involve behavioral problems.
Former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro believes it was her reopening of the cold case into Kathleen Durst's disappearance that provoked the murder of Berman, who had been Durst's confidante. And she said Durst's own words can now be used against him.
Richard DeGuerin, a renowned criminal attorney who defended Durst in a previous murder case and said he would mount his defense again, lashed out at the arrest.