Millionaire Real Estate Heir Robert Durst to Remain in Custody in New Orleans

The 71-year-old subject of an HBO documentary about accusations that he killed at least three people over a 20-year span was charged Monday with one count of first-degree murder

A lawyer for Robert Durst, the New York City real estate heir charged with capital murder in Los Angeles for the 2000 shooting death of his former confidant, told reporters gathered outside a New Orleans courtroom Tuesday that his client didn't kill her, just after he was ordered jailed until at least next week.

"Bob Durst did not kill Susan Berman. He doesn't know who did," his defense attorney Dick DeGuerin told reporters outside the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

Durst will be sent back to California soon, but he was ordered in court Tuesday to remain in custody in Louisiana until at least next week. The 71-year-old agreed Monday not to fight extradition, but when he will be returned to California is unclear since he facesgun and drug charges in New Orleans.

"We have detectives standing by in New Orleans that are ready to extradite him based on what the court decides," said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

Durst, the subject of a six-part HBO documentary focusing on accusations that he killed at least three people over a 20-year span, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday in New Orleans just hours before the final episode of "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" was broadcast.

Late Monday, Durst was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a weapon with a controlled substance, marijuana, a Louisiana State Police trooper told the Associated Press. Prosecutors said Tuesday that Durst had nearly 150 grams of marijuana at the time of his arrest.

He had arrived in shackles at the courthouse Monday morning when a judge ruled that Durst should be held in Orleans Parish Prison until Monday morning, when the next hearing is scheduled. His attorney said after Tuesday's court appearance that Durst will contest the Louisiana charges and claimed the murder warrant was issued based on the HBO documentary, not the facts in the case.

"The warrant we believe is based on a television show and not on actual fact," DeGuerin said. "We want a hearing as quickly as possible so Mr. Durst can go to California and face trial as quickly as possible."

Durst was charged Monday by authorities in Los Angeles with one count of first-degree murder, special circumstance allegations of murder of a witness and lying in wait, making him eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty, according to the District Attorney's Office.

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Durst is accused in the execution-style shooting death of his close friend, Susan Berman, 55, whose body was found on Christmas Eve of 2000 in her Benedict Canyon home. The actual slaying occurred at least a day earlier, according to prosecutors.

Investigators say Durst killed Berman because prosecutors in New York's Westchester County were about to interview her about the 1982 disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen "Kathie" McCormack Durst, who was in the process of divorcing him.

In addition to being a suspect in Kathie McCormack's disappearance and the death of Berman, Durst also admitted to killing Morris Black, a man who lived across from him in Galveston, Texas, where Durst fled while authorities were trying to make a case against him in both cases. Durst went to trial in Black's death — after a nationwide manhunt located him in Pennsylvania because he tried to shoplift a sandwich — but he was acquitted by a jury that deemed Black's death accidental and in self-defense.

In Sunday's broadcast of "The Jinx," Durst was caught on microphone saying to himself, "Killed them all, of course." The documentary's director told "Good Morning America" Monday he didn't know about the bathroom audio until much later, when an editor double-checking the material came across it.
 

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