The Jinx continues…
Robert Durst, the focus of the controversial 2015 documentary, took the stand on Monday in his murder trial.
Shortly after the HBO miniseries aired — and the world heard him say on a hot mic during a bathroom break that he “killed them all of course” — the real estate heir was arrested again and officially charged with the murder of Susan Berman. Prosecutors claimed at the time to have other new evidence in the 2000 murder.
Related: Durst Accused Of Faking Dementia To Delay Trial
Now the trial is finally upon us, and once again Durst is telling his side of the story — but is anyone buying it this time??
Last year, Durst’s own attorney, Dick DeGuerin, told the jury that it was actually the 78-year-old who was the first to find Berman’s body, something he’d previously lied about.
Answering his own attorney’s direct examination, Durst told the story… He says he and Susan planned to drive up to San Francisco to look at a townhouse project they were working on together. But when he got there, he says, there was a note on the door saying:
“Bobby, I am doing my walk, be back in an hour, Suzy.”
So he let himself in with the key he had, walking through the house and eventually into the backyard — but didn’t see her anywhere. Here’s where things get a little hard to understand…
Durst claims he heard car honking from the street and followed the noise, thinking there had been an accident. What he would have done in that case we have no idea. But importantly he says this time he walked around the house instead of back through it. Once he got to the street and saw no cars, he turned around — and this time the front door was mysteriously open, and the note was gone. He claims he couldn’t remember whether he left the door open or not.
In any case, this time he entered the house and went to Susan’s bedroom where he “did a double take” after he “saw Susan lying on the floor on her back.”
Naturally, he touched the body. He says she was cold and that her hair was soaked in some kind of liquid he assumed was blood. What an odd way of putting that…
Anyway, he claims he had no idea what happened, telling the court:
“I did not imagine at that time that she’d been shot.”
We’ll breeze right by asking what the eff he thought happened and skip right to where he called the police immediately, something an innocent person would totally have done. Right?
Unfortunately, he says, the phone in Susan’s house was dead, so he had to drive to a payphone to call 911. Yes, in the year 2000, people still used those — a 57-year-old not having a cell phone at that time wasn’t actually all that odd.
The thing that was unusual though, is that he didn’t want to give his name to the dispatcher. He admits he didn’t want to be identified! Man, this guy has to know how guilty he’s making himself look, right? He explains the letter he wrote to police saying:
“I decided that instead of calling 911 I would send police a letter telling them that Susan was dead in her house.”
Durst says he doesn’t remember where he got the envelope and stamp, but according to the evidence, there were similar envelopes in Susan’s house.
OK, first off, does anyone else see the lack of urgency that writing a letter displays? You write a letter to tell your local congressperson about a pothole. If you find the dead body of your friend, you call the damn cops!
Second, that letter, sent to the Beverly Hills Police Department, is something else. It doesn’t describe the situation or give any evidence — it just says:
“Cadaver.” Super sentimental, right?
Notably the word “Beverly” was misspelled as “Beverley” in the police address.
Durst now admits to having written the disturbing letter — and to having lied about it, something he continued to do in a famous scene in the documentary, where he told the interviewer “I can’t imagine” why anyone would write that letter. And when it was suggested whoever wrote the letter was trying to make sure her body was found before it rotted — so they must have liked her — Durst replied:
“If somebody liked her, why kill her? And now you’re taking this big risk. You’re writing a note to the police that only the killer could have written.”
So now he’s saying that he DID write that note, but he DIDN’T kill her. If this new story is true, why implicate the letter-writer so hard in that interview??
When his attorney asked:
“Did you lie about it for years?”
Durst confirmed he had, saying:
“Yes, because it’s a very difficult thing to believe. I have difficulty believing it myself, to accept, that I would write the letter and did not kill Susan Berman.”
Well, at least we’re on the same page now. Of course, everything he did after that is puzzling behavior for someone you’d presume would be distraught over having found your friend dead. Namely? He drove up to San Francisco as planned — admittedly to get away from Los Angeles — and then flew to New York because he had plans there for New Year’s. Could YOU do all that after such a traumatic event?
He ended his incredible testimony by denying once again that he was the one who murdered Berman:
“I had no reason to kill Susan Berman. Susan had been murdered, someone must have had a reason, a motive, whatever, to kill. I had no reason to kill Susan Berman.”
Except… that’s not what he said in the documentary. In Episode 3 of The Jinx, when asked if it makes sense to him that people suspected him of the murder, he says:
“Oh sure because she was my spokesman. And all of a sudden she’s dead, right after Jeanine Pirro‘s doing the investigation of me. I shut her up.”
Yes, Berman had provided Durst his alibi in the 1982 murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack. Investigators were looking into the unsolved crime, and Pirro specifically was about to go speak with her — so yes, just as he himself previously admitted, he did have a reason to kill her.
If you thought he made himself look even more guilty during direct examination, just wait until the next step: cross examination by Deputy District Attorney John Lewin. Lewin told the court on Monday:
“He has perjured himself probably 100 times and that’s not hyperbole. He’s testified inconsistently with other statements he’s given under oath.”
We’ll continue to give you the biggest moments as the case moves forward.
For now, you can watch the testimony for yourself (below)!
[Image via HBO Max/Law and Crime/YouTube.]
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