World

The Jinx's Robert Durst allegedly admits killings off-camera in HBO series

The arrest of Robert Durst, a wealthy eccentric linked to two killings and his wife's disappearance, came just before the finale in an HBO show about his life in which he said he "killed them all."

Mysteries of 2 deaths and a disappearance surround eccentric real estate heir

Robert Durst has been the focus of many questions about the unsolved killing of a close friend and confidante in Los Angeles 15 years ago, and about his first wife's disappearance in 1982, as well as the shooting and dismemberment of a Texas neighbour in 2001. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The arrest of Robert Durst, a wealthy eccentric linked to two killings and his wife's disappearance, came just before the finale in an HBO show about his life in which he said he "killed them all."

In the finale of The Jinx that aired Sunday evening on HBO, Durst was asked about similarities in handwriting in a letter he wrote and another linked to one of the killings. Later, filmmakers said, Durst wore his microphone into the bathroom.

What followed was bizarre rambling in which Durst said, apparently to himself: "There it is. You're caught" and "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

The show ended, and it wasn't clear whether producers confronted Durst about the secretly recorded words, or what Durst meant by them.

Durst was arrested by FBI agents Saturday at a New Orleans hotel on a warrant from Los Angeles for the murder of Susan Berman 15 years ago.

He appeared before a judge in New Orleans on Monday. Durst, 71, waived extradition and will return to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in the 2000 death.

Berman was killed as cold-case detectives prepared to question her in the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathie.

Durst moved to Texas after Berman's death, where he lived as a woman before being acquitted in the 2001 dismemberment death of his Galveston neighbour, Morris Black. Durst said that killing was in self-defence.

Durst has always denied involvement in his wife's disappearance or Berman's murder.

Feuded with family

Defence lawyer Chip Lewis, who successfully defended Durst in the Texas killing, said his client will waive extradition and be transported to Los Angeles to face the charges.

He's maintained his innocence for years. Nothing has changed.- Lawyer Chip Lewis

"He's maintained his innocence for years," Lewis said. "Nothing has changed."

The arrest came on the eve of Sunday's broadcast on HBO of the final episode of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

The documentary's filmmaker Andrew Jarecki told The Associated Press that Durst is a strange but smart man who has long feuded with his wealthy family.

The Jinx director Andrew Jarecki said he has come to a 'firm conclusion' about Durst's guilt or innocence. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
"The story is so operatic," Jarecki said. "That's what's so fascinating to me — seeing someone who is born to such privilege and years later is living in a $300-a-month rooming house in Galveston, Texas, disguised as a mute woman."

Lewis, the attorney, said the arrest was orchestrated by Hollywood to come before the final episode.

"No doubt," he said. "It's all about Hollywood now."

Lewis said he was familiar with the Berman killing and wasn't surprised by the arrest because of the number of emails and calls he got after last week's episode aired. He said new evidence touted by producers, however, was something he was already familiar with.

Filmmaker has 'firm conclusion' on guilt

"I know all about this case," Lewis said. "I have no doubt we will present a most compelling defence."

Jarecki told a Hollywood version of Durst's story in the 2010 film that starred Ryan Gosling, All Good Things.

A week before the release of that film, Durst called Jarecki saying he wanted to see it, and eventually agreed to be interviewed by Jarecki. That footage led to the documentary series.

Jarecki said he has come to a "firm conclusion" about Durst's guilt or innocence.

HBO distributed the first two episodes in advance, making news with Durst's admission that he lied to investigators about what he did on the night of his wife's disappearance. The other episodes were kept under wraps to maintain suspense as they aired each week.

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