Robert Durst admits “cadaver” note made him guilty


LOS ANGELES – New York real estate heir Robert Durst said on Monday he had lied for decades when sending police a note directing them to his best friend’s corpse because he feared it would involved in murder.

It was so hard to fathom that Susan Berman’s killer was not the same person who sent the police a note directing them to his “corpse” that Durst even questioned the plausibility of this explanation.

“I can’t believe it myself,” he said in his defense in Los Angeles County Superior Court. “It’s very hard to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and that I didn’t kill Susan Berman.”

Durst, 78, denied killing Berman during four days of testimony during his murder trial.

Durst, the eccentric former heir to a commercial real estate fortune in New York City, is only charged with the murder of Berman in December 2000. But Los Angeles prosecutors have presented evidence of an alleged murder he is suspected of. for committing in New York and the one he admitted to Texas to prove the Berman case.

Prosecutors say Durst killed Berman to silence her before she could tell investigators in New York City how she provided him with a false alibi when his first wife went missing in 1982. They say he murdered a neighbor of Galveston, Texas, in 2001 when the man discovered his identity while in hiding after New York City Police reopened the investigation into his wife’s disappearance.

Durst has denied killing Kathie Durst and has never been charged with a crime related to her disappearance. Her body was never found, but she was legally declared dead. He was acquitted of the 2001 Morris Black murder after testifying that he shot the man in self-defense during a gun fight.

Durst, who skipped bail in the Galveston case before he was ultimately arrested for stealing a sandwich in Pennsylvania, testified that he considered suicide while on the run.

“I was going to shoot myself because I couldn’t imagine being a fugitive,” he said.

Durst, who is fragile and suffers from a series of health problems, spoke in a soft, husky voice as he denied killing Berman, his longtime friend who served as a spokesperson when his wife went missing.

He showed no emotion in describing how he found Berman lifeless when he showed up to her home in Los Angeles on a visit scheduled a few days before Christmas.

Durst said there were cars parked out front and he found a note stuck to her front door telling her she had gone for a walk. No one answered when he rang the doorbell several times and knocked, so he entered with a key she gave him.

His dogs barked incessantly, which was common, and he found a back door of the house open and went into the yard looking for it.

When he returned home, the front door was open and the bill was missing. He said he may have left the door open after entering.

He found Berman lying on her back on the floor of a bedroom.

“I did a double take when I saw Susan,” he said. “I put my hand to her face… to see if she was breathing, to see if I could feel the breath. I was cold. Then I grabbed her by the arms… her head was just hanging down. I could see that. her hair was in some kind of liquid. “

He initially thought she had been injured in a fall, but eventually concluded that someone had killed her.

He tried to call 911 from his home, but his cordless phone battery was dead. He decided to leave the house after hearing neighbors pass by and thought he would be suspected if he was found inside with the body.

Durst said he stopped at a phone booth near Sunset Boulevard and dialed 911. He was unwilling to give his name to the dispatcher and considered providing a false name. But he concluded that his distinct voice would eventually be recognized on the recording, so he hung up.

“I decided that instead of calling 911, I would send the police a letter telling them that Susan was dead in her house,” Durst said.

He sent a note to the police that simply said “BODY” and included Berman’s address. The envelope misspelled Beverly Hills as “Beverley”.

Durst said he couldn’t remember the details of writing the note because he was in a fog after taking an opioid pain reliever the night before for a migraine.

Durst had always denied writing the note – to the police and documentary filmmakers who confronted him with a letter he once sent to Berman in almost identical handwriting and the same misspelling of Beverly.

After the judge ruled prosecutors could present evidence showing he wrote the note, his lawyers conceded before trial that Durst had written it. His testimony was the first time he publicly described finding Berman and writing the note.

Durst denied killing Berman and said he had no motive to kill her. He denied that Berman, who was in financial trouble and had been supported by him over the years, had blackmailed him.

“Someone must have had a reason, a motive, whatever, to kill Susan Berman,” he said. “I had no reason to kill Susan Berman.”

When Durst completes his questioning by his attorney, he is set to undergo a scathing cross-examination from Assistant District Attorney John Lewin.

During Monday’s evidence arguments, Lewin said Durst repeatedly lied on the witness stand.

“He has perjured himself probably 100 times and that’s not hyperbole,” Lewin said. “He testified inconsistently with other statements he made under oath.”

About Mary Moser

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