Crime & Justice

The Jinx: Police search Robert Durst's Houston home

Robert Durst in HBO's
Robert Durst in HBO's "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."
HBO

Update 5:06 p.m. Police searching Houston home of millionaire Robert Durst

Police on Tuesday were searching the Houston home of millionaireRobert Durst after his arrest over the weekend in New Orleans.

Durst, 71, is charged with murder in a Los Angeles killing 15 years ago, and has been suspected — but never charged — in the disappearance of his first wife in New York. In 2003, he was acquitted of murder in a dismemberment death in Texas.

On Tuesday afternoon, a marked Houston police car and several unmarked cars were in front of a 17-story Houston building where Durst has three condominiums.

Houston police and the Harris County district attorney's referred questions to the Los Angeles Police Department. Harris County district attorney spokesman Jeff McShan said LAPD contacted his office last week. McShan would not elaborate on what was discussed.

LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery, a spokesman for the department, said the department is not commenting on the case until Durst is in their custody.

"This is an investigation that's being handled by multi-jurisdictions," Montgomery said. "At this juncture the only thing the LAPD is doing is waiting for the extradition. We are just waiting on him to make it into our custody."

AP

1:59 p.m. Robert Durst did not kill Susan Berman and he doesn’t know who did, Durst’s defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said in Louisiana Tuesday morning.

Durst was booked on weapons and drug charges in Louisiana Monday, following a first degree murder charge in Los Angeles Sunday night for the 2000 death of Susan Berman, Durst’s former friend and spokeswoman.

Assistant District Mark Burton said authorities found marijuana and a gun in Durst’s hotel room when he was arrested, according to the Associated Press.

The murder charge coincided with Sunday’s airing of an HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” In the documentary, Durst gave an extensive interview and audio also came to light in which Durst allegedly said to himself while his microphone was still on in the bathroom, that he “killed them all.”

“My concern is that the warrant that was issued in California was issued because of a television show and not because of facts,” said DeGuerin.

“We want to get to California as quickly as we can so we can get into a court of law and try this case where it needs to be tried. We’ll contest the facts there and we’ll try to contest them here.”

Andrew Jarecki, the filmmaker behind "The Jinx," has publicly defended the research that his team carried out to make the documentary. In an interview with KPCC's The Frame in February, he didn't shy away from comparisons to the work of a private investigator: 

If you're going to go to the audience and say, 'This is what happened,' you have to represent the audience, and you have to be as thorough as the audience's nerdiest relative who would really do that last piece of work to make sure that you've really figured it out. So I always feel really compelled to do it, and we've developed those skills over the years; we're not afraid to do the investigative stuff, and it's really natural.

Jarecki was flattered by comparisons of his film with the popular public radio true-crime podcast "Serial," but he noted the difference was in the conclusion:

'Serial' was designed to be somewhat ambiguous, and I think this series will be less ambiguous and, at the end, viewers will know what happened.

On the Today show Tuesday morning, Durst’s former brother-in-law Jim McCormack, brother of Durst’s first wife Kathleen who disappeared, weighed in on Durst’s documentary comments.

“In my heart of hearts, absolutely” it was a confession, McCormack said.

In court Tuesday morning, Orleans Parish Assistant Dist. Atty. Mark Burton asked Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell Jr. to detain Durst for five days, "until a hearing to determine whether bail can be set given his flight risk," the Los Angeles Times reported.

KPCC & wires

This story has been updated.